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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. 28. Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson (biog. vol. 1), Hákonardrápa, 2 [Vol. 3, 216]

[8] méilskúrum ‘in missile-showers [BATTLE]’: Méil- is only otherwise attested in the cpd méilregni ‘with missile-rain’, Eskál Vell 10/4I, where it must be disyllabic. Reichardt (1928, 60; cf. ÍF 26, 211 n.) asserts that méil- is identical to monosyllabic mél ‘bit [of a bridle]’, and argues that méil- may be either disyllabic or, as here, monosyllabic (cf. C’s ‘mell’). This renders metrical C’s text of l. 8, benfúr fyr méilskúrum, which is the basis of Reichardt’s interpretation of the half-stanza (see Note to ll. 5-8 above). But the exact meaning and etymology of méil- are unclear (Kristensen 1907, 235-40; AEW: méilregn; ÍO: méil-), and Hallfreðr’s self-conscious imitation of Eskál Vell makes it improbable that méil- should be monosyllabic here when it is disyllabic in the same metrical position in Vell 10/4I.


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