Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa, 8 [Vol. 2, 439-41]

[1-4]: (a) The reading offered here follows 180b with one emendation: nema ‘gain, take’ (l. 4; so 180b) is unmetrical (the metre requires a long syllable in position 7, and nem- is short, and moreover, it does not provide the necessary internal rhyme with Fenn-). If we assume that nema is a scribal corruption (lectio facilior), it is likely that the original version supplied the verb nenna ‘engage in, be occupied with’ construed with a dat. object (see LP: nenna; Fritzner: nenna 1.a). (b) Skj B (so also ÍF 35) adopts the reading of the A-class mss, which can be rendered as follows: [[ALT]] Prose order: Hitt skal lýst, es lofðungr fýstisk at ganga langan veg til Róms at venja lið dýrð; fylkir sá þar balkat friðland Fenneyjar. Translation: It shall be brought to light, that the leader desired to walk the long way to Rome to prepare his troop for glory; the ruler saw there the protected secured land of Venice. This version is, however, metrically highly problematic. The first four syllables of l. 4 belong to a D4- or E-type l., and the word in position 4, in this case lið ‘troop’, otherwise always forms a syntactic unit with the words in positions 1-3. (c) Kock (Skald; NN §2789) emends lið to sik ‘himself’, suggesting that venja sik e-u ‘prepare oneself for sth.’, a common construction, gives better sense as Eiríkr is unlikely to make a pilgrimage for the good of his troop, and st. 12 states that he undertakes it ‘to redeem his soul’ (at bœta sl). However, his proposal that a scribe mistook <ſik> for <lid> seems unlikely, and in any case the resulting l. does not resolve the syntactic disjunction.

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