Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Leiðarvísan, 10 [Vol. 7, 149-50]

[4] eldum (dat. pl.) ‘fires’: The dat. is needed with kasta. It has not been possible to make sense of B’s reading ‘ęttum’, possibly dat. pl. of f. ætt, either an astronomical term referring to a portion, or ‘quarter’ of the heavens or, more commonly, a reference to kinship relations or family pedigree (cf. Fritzner: ætt). The word is clearly intended as the instrument of God’s threat to punish mankind for its failure to observe Sundays by throwing (kasta, l. 4) something painful into men’s limbs. Finnur Jónsson’s emendation (Skj B) to trega, dat. sg. of tregi ‘woe, sorrow’, bears no relation to the ms. reading. Kock’s suggestion (NN §2141) of eitrum or eitri, dat. pl. or dat. sg. of eitr ‘poison’ makes sense in the context and is in keeping with the threatening tone of the st. Most other versions of the Sunday Letter include fire as one of the punishments for failing to observe the sanctity of Sunday (Attwood 2003, 72). Thus emendation has been made to eldum, dat. pl. of eldr ‘fire’.


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