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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. 54. Hallar-Steinn (biog. vol. 1), Fragments, 5 [Vol. 3, 206]

[3-4] verki skala vandr ‘the poem should not be difficult’: This edn takes the mss’ ‘skala’ as skala, the finite verb skal ‘shall, will, must’ plus the negative suffix ‑a in an intercalated clause (verki skala vandr ‘the poem should not be difficult’; cf. Jón Þorkelsson 1890, 5-6). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B), followed by all other eds, interpreted ‘skala’ as the noun skála f. gen. pl. ‘of bowls’ and joined it with mǫrk ‘forest’ to form the woman-kenning mǫrk skála ‘forest of bowls [WOMAN]’. In eds which regard skála as the determinant in a woman-kenning, verki (verka ms. C) is interpreted differently in syntactical terms. Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and Kock (Skald) choose the C variant verka and regard it as gen. governed by vandr ‘careful’ (l. 4), hence vandr verka is translated as ‘careful with the poem’ and regarded as an attribute to the subject ek ‘I’ (l. 1). Faulkes’s edn (SnE 1998, I, 63) has vandr verki ‘careful with the work’ (verki regarded as dat. of verk n.) in the same syntactical function (SnE 1998, II, 420). However, vandr is normally construed with prepositions like at, um or við ‘with, concerning sth.’ (Fritzner: vandr 1) and not with the gen. or dat. Furthermore, skála is unmetrical, because the disyllabic word in metrical positions 3-4 must have a short stem vowel in this type of odd line (A2k; cf. Gade 1995a, 117-18).


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