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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 49. Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld (biog. vol. 5), Lausavísur, 23 [Vol. 1, 838]

[4] kvaddi lið bǫðvar ‘rallied his host to battle’: (a) The idiom is kveðja e-n e-s ‘summon sby to sth.’ (see CVC: kveðja), and here Óláfr, understood from konungr in l. 2, is taken as the subject (so ÍF 6; Ulset 1975, 92; ÍS). This has the advantage of assuming that the dramatic focus remains on the king. (b) Alternatively, lið ‘host’ in l. 4 could be subject, hence ‘the host called forth battle’ (so Skj B). (c) The variant kvaddisk occurs in mss of both ÓH and Fbr, and is adopted in Fbr 1852, and by Gaertner (1907), who interprets the clause to mean ‘the host came to blows’, on the basis of the observation that kveðjask means ‘greet one another’. Yet it is hard to see how the verb could be so used in the sg., even though lið is collective. Finnur Jónsson (1932-3) says that with kvaddisk the clause should mean ‘the troop incited itself to battle’ (though in Hb 1892-6 he took it to mean ‘the troop was summoned to battle’).


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