Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Lilja, 84 [Vol. 7, 656-7]

[2] bygð samvizkunnar ‘the seat of conscience’: LP (1860) does not regard this phrase as a kenning. Meissner lists it among the kennings for ‘breast’ (Meissner, 136), and Kock (NN §187) argues that this is the correct interpretation. LP defines it as a kenning for ‘breast’ and refers to Meissner. Kock views the kenning as analogous to the poet’s mention of his burning breast (brjóst svíðir ‘my breast burns’ 76/6; tendrað brjóst ‘burning breast’ 81/4) a few sts earlier, and the theme is certainly the same (cf. also hreinsa brjóst ‘cleanse my heart’ 2/5 and Note). But it is unlikely that the poet intended biological specificity in any of these instances, and Sveinbjörn Egilsson’s approach may still be the best.


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