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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 3. Austrfararvísur, 2 [Vol. 1, 585]

[2] karfa ‘vessel’: The term occurs only here in the skaldic corpus, and its meaning is elusive (Jesch 2001a, 135). Snorri identifies this as an eikjukarfi ‘ferry-boat’, an interpretation that Finnur Jónsson (1932, 11) defends against Noreen’s suggestion (1922a, 70-1) that it was actually a rather substantial vessel, one with at least six pair of oars, better suited to crossing a large lake than a river. It is not improbable that karfa here is intended to be comically grandiose: see Beckman (1923, 322); Beckman (1934, 213); and cf. rǫnn ‘mansions, great halls’ in reference to cottages (Ótt Lv 3/2, a vísa possibly by Sigvatr).


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