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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

8. Anonymous Poems, Krákumál, 15 [Vol. 8, 747]

[10] pálmi strengflaugar ‘the palm-tree of the bowstring’s groove [ARROW]’: (a) The present ed. emends the mss’ ‘strenglaugar’ to strengflaugar, proposed by Falk (1923, 88), who was evidently following Sveinbjörn Egilsson (see Rafn 1826, 127; LP (1860): strenglög f.; cf. also Valdimar Ásmundarson (Krm 1891) and Kock (Skald)). The bowstring’s groove (strengflaug) is the notch in an arrow for the bow-string; this sense is attested in Eindr (Flat 1860-8, I, 463; ONP: strengflaug). (b) Earlier eds (Rafn 1826, Pfeiffer 1860 and those of CPB) read strenglögar, evidently taking this (see Pfeiffer 1860, 317) as gen. sg. of strenglög f. ‘groove (in a bow) for a bowstring’, examples of which, however, are hard to find, and which would in any case give less good sense than if the groove in the tail end of an arrow were what was meant. (c) The emendation to strenglágar, gen. sg. of strenglág f. ‘notch in arrow for bowstring’ adopted by Finnur Jónsson (1893b; 1905; Skj B; LP: strenglôg; cf. also Meissner 147), is hardly acceptable in that sense, since its second element, -lág f. is well attested in the sense ‘felled tree, log’; it is rejected by Falk (1923, 88), and cf. Kock (NN §2155). On the possible Christian implications of the word pálmr ‘palm-tree’ here (when considered in relation to sts 11/5-7 and 18/7-8), see the discussion of Olsen (1933a) in the Introduction.


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