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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut, 32 [Vol. 7, 262-4]

[6] dags reitar ‘of day’s furrow [SKY/HEAVEN]’: A somewhat unusual heaven-kenning; cf. dags land ‘day’s land’ Leið 24/8. Reitr (from ríta ‘to scratch, engrave, write’) ‘furrow’, by extension ‘cultivated land’, ‘a marked out space’. Alternatively the kenning can be read as ‘the space inscribed/marked out by the day’, or simply as ‘day’s land’. This is the first use of reitr as a base-word in a heaven-kenning (cf. Lil 11/4, 26/2). As ‘furrow’ or ‘cultivated land’ the noun accords well, however, with the agrarian imagery of the blómi ‘blossom’ (l. 8) watered (rained upon) by the dreyri ‘blood’ of Christ (cf. the use of such imagery as metaphor for inspiration in sts 4-5 and the recurrence of ár in the sense of ‘year’s abundance’; see Note to 5/5).


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