Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, 1. Magnússflokkr, 14 [Vol. 2, 81-2]

[1-2] viðir harðéls Hramma ‘trees of the harsh storm of Hrammi <= Óðinn> [BATTLE > WARRIORS]’: (a) Éls ‘(of) the storm’, as the reading of all mss except (and papp18ˣ), and as the lectio difficilior, may well be the more authentic reading. The interpretation above follows ÍF 28 (and Hkr 1991) in taking éls Hramma together as ‘Óðinn’s storm [BATTLE]’, and indeed such an Óðinn-heiti appears in Þul Óðins 4/5III, where ms. A reads ‘hrami’ and B ‘hramme’, though Finnur Jónsson in LP maintains that the metre favours hrami (the l. reads Hram(m)i, Hjarrandi). The cpd harðél occurs in a similar battle-kenning in Hskv Hardr 2/1, 2: harðél Haddings ‘strong storms of Haddingr <legendary hero>’. (b) Alternatively, éls could conceivably form a kenning with hramma in the sense ‘of hands’: ‘blizzard of the hands [ARROWS]’, though parallels are hard to find other than the partial one of hlaupsildr gaupna Egils ‘leaping herrings of Egill’s <legendary bowman’s> palms’ (Eyv Lv 14/8I; cf. Meissner 146-7 on arrow-kennings). The viðir of arrows would then be warriors, cf., e.g., viðir nadda ‘trees of points/shafts’, HaukrV Ísldr 23/8IV, viðr fleina ‘tree of spears’ Útsteinn Útkv 7/8VIII. (c) The K reading -elds preserved in and papp18ˣ gives viðir harðelds hramma ‘trees of the hard fire of hands [GOLD > MEN]’. This reading is adopted in Skj B and Skald, but it is a minority reading, and may be an early emendation.

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