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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eil Þdr 23III l. 2

mœrar — of the land (= Jǫrð)

lemma:

2. mœrr (noun f.): marsh

readings:

[2] mœrar: ‘morar’ Tˣ, mæran U

notes:

[2] kon mœrar ‘the descendant of the land (= Jǫrð) [= Þórr]’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B; LP: konr 3; LH I, 537) adopts mæran m. acc. sg. ‘famous’ (so U) against the reading of the majority of the mss. He takes this adj. as a qualifier for the noun kon ‘descendant’, and regards the phrase as an onomastic pun on Hákon jarl’s name, mæran kon = -kon (mærr ‘famous’ = hôr ‘high’). He looks to Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 256, 266, 280), which lists Eilífr as one of Hákon’s poets, to confirm this interpretation. All later eds (Skald and SnE 1998, I) follow him. But as Lie (1976, 399) pointed out, the best mss have kon mœrar here, which is a kenning for Þórr. This edn follows Lie and retains the reading of mss R, W, B. Mœrar is the gen. of mœrr ‘land’ and thus a synonym of jǫrð ‘earth’, which in turn is a homonym of Jǫrð, the name of Þórr’s mother (see Lie 1976, 399). The version of the stanza that appears in ms. U may also refer to Þórr periphrastically, however. Consider the following (normalised) reading: Verðið ér en jarðar | es gert of kon mæran | á sefreinu Sónar | sáð vingjǫfum ráða (ráða is an emendation from ‘baþir’ based on the other mss). This gives the prose order Ér verðið ráða vingjǫfum; sáð Sónar es gert á sefreinu um mæran kon Jarðar ‘You must decide the gifts of friendship; the seed of Són <mythical vat> [POETRY] was made in the mind-land [BREAST] about the famous son of the earth [= Þórr]’. Hence, the helmingr given in U could certainly not belong to a now lost poem honouring Hákon jarl, as Finnur Jónsson thought, editing it as Et digt om Hakon jarl ‘A poem about Hákon jarl’ in Skj. Ms. U’s version of the stanza contains several metrical errors, however, because the alliteration in l. 2 falls on the auxiliary verb es, and the aðalhending in the same line (gert : mæran) is flawed.

kennings:

grammar:

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