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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Leiðarvísan, 14 [Vol. 7, 153-4]

[5-8]: Sveinbjörn Egilson offers an alternative interpretation in a marginal note to Jón Sigurðsson’s transcription of the 624 text in 444(2)ˣ. He retains B’s readings heimstýris harri in l. 5, taking heimstýrir ‘steerer of the world’ as a kenning for the sun, whose harri m. ‘lord, king’ is God. He construes ok þá’s heppinn harri heimstýris skóp skepnu, setti dýrðarmildr dróttinn þann dag til hvílðar ‘and when the fortunate lord of the steerer of the world [SUN > = God] created the race of men, the glory-generous lord established that day as a time of rest’. This makes for a neat, balanced arrangement, in which the two couplets make independent sense. However, the sun is not generally, in Leið or the other C12th drápur, designated by a cpd, figurative expression, but is invariably the prosaic element in kennings for both heaven and God, rendered by sunna, sól or rǫðull. Stýrir appears elsewhere in Leið only in expressions for God (see 3/5, 27/2, 21/3). It therefore seems unlikely that Leið would adopt such a different technique only here as Sveinbjörn’s interpretation would require. Here ms. ‘harre’ has been emended to harra ‘of lords’ to produce a God-kenning; cf. Geisl 25/7-8 dyrr lét dróttinn harra | dáðmilds.

references

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