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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Leiðarvísan, 1 [Vol. 7, 141-2]

[1] sem ek inni ‘I arrange inwardly’: Skj B, followed by Skald, treats both sem and inni as 1st pers. sg. pres. indic. verbs, adding the enclitic pronouns. This requires emendation of ek to ok and inni to innik. They thus read semk ok innik. Finnur Jónsson takes munn ok varrar (l. 4) as the object of semja ‘to arrange, compose’, and þinn óð (l. 1) as the object of inna ‘to perform, relate, tell, achieve’. He construes innik þinn óð … ok semk munn ok varrar ‘I produce your poem ... and arrange [my] mouth and lips’. Kock (NN §1257) argues that this is an example of zeugma, with óð ‘poem’ the object of both verbs and munn ok varrar harðla brátt til hróðrar ‘mouth and lips very eager to praise’ the object of semk. Attwood 1996a retains the ms. reading by treating sem as a conj. meaning ‘just as, as well as’ and ek inni þinn óð ‘I compose your poem’ and sem munn ok varrar ‘just as [I compose my] mouth and lips’ as parallel clauses, with óð and munn ok varrar as the objects of inna in the sense ‘to compose’. The problem with this reading is that inna does not mean ‘to compose’ (as semja does) but ‘to perform, relate’ and thus does not suit both postulated objects. The only other way to keep the ms. reading (and the one adopted here) is to consider sem ek the verb with two objects and regard inni as the adv. ‘inside, indoors’, usually used in a concrete sense, but here meaning ‘inwardly, in my breast’, where poetry resided according to skaldic convention (cf. Meissner, 134-6). Another example of inni used in a metaphorical sense is in Gamlkan Has 7/5.


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