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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Anonymous Poems, Poem about the Phoenix, 1 [Vol. 3, 1257]

[6]: The word ertu ‘you are’ must be fully stressed, as is in fact demanded by Kuhn’s first law, which states that a particle such as this must be stressed if it is displaced from the first drop of the clause (Kuhn 1933, 8). Similar stress may be found on a clause-medial verb in the Poetic Edda, even with alliterative precedence vis-à-vis a following noun, as in HHj 9/7-8 (NK 143) enn á valbǫstu | verpr naðr hala ‘but a serpent winds its tail on the sword-guard’. The line is nonetheless metrically peculiar, as normally the copula is too weakly stressed to receive such treatment in the Poetic Edda, in which the copula is never stressed when line-initial. Comparable treatment of the copula, however, does occur in late stanzas in the fornaldarsögur. Lines of Type A1 with a light second lift do occur in the Poetic Edda (e.g. Sigsk 13/14 (NK 209) sǫknuð mikinn ‘bitter loss’) at a rate of 83 instances, 46 of them in even lines, according to Suzuki (2014, 36), though most of his examples would probably be scanned by other metrists as representing Type A2k (e.g. Sigsk 18/6 (NK 210) herbaldr lifir ‘army-bold one lives’), with a light second syllable for an expected heavy. Alternatively, the line might be read ert konungur, Type D3, like Vsp 17/6 (NK 4) lítt megandi ‘feeble’ (lit. ‘capable of little’).


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