Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Gamli kanóki, 1. Harmsól, 34 [Vol. 7, 102-3]

[5] áðr ef eigi réðum: The ms. is very badly worn at this point (fol. 13r, l. 7), and it has been very difficult to read this l. Although in Skj A he reads rendum with certainty, Finnur Jónsson in Skj B follows Kempff in adopting Sveinbjörn Egilsson’s suggestion (1844, 24 n. 25), that the l. should read endr ef eigi vendum. The endr : vendum reconstruction, however, gives an aðalhending, rather than the expected skothending. The final word, ‘re᷎dum’, is legible on ultra-violet photographs, and is confirmed by Rydberg’s transcription. Although the first word is now illegible, apart from the final r, Rydberg read ‘…dr’ with certainty, and believed he saw traces of an initial a (1907, 26 n. 4). Jón Helgason (1935-6, 258) accepts Rydberg’s reading, though he points out that ræðum (dat. pl.) ‘speeches’, which would be the usual interpretion of what appears to be hooked ‘e’, is hardly appropriate in the context. As Jón points out, however, there are several instances where the scribe writes a curved accent which is easily mistaken for a hook. If we take this to be the case here, the l. becomes áðr ef eigi réðum. Although the expression ráða til sætta við e-n ‘to make peace with someone’ is not found elsewhere, Jón Helgason cites ráða til saka við e-n (Fritzner: ráða til 4.) ‘to blame someone’ as a close parallel. The first word of l. 5 has been taken as either endr (so Kempff and Skj B), following a suggestion of Sveinbjörn Egilsson (1844, 24 n. 45), or áðr (so Rydberg, Jón Helgason, Kock, Black, Attwood 1996a and here).


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