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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Sturla Þórðarson, 1. Hrynhenda, 6 [Vol. 2, 682-3]

[1] svíða (inf.) ‘move swiftly across [lit. scorch]’: The reading of E and 81a has been chosen here rather than that of F. In F 1871, Unger wrote ‘Sneiða’ without any comments, but upon closer inspection, it is obvious that this reading is incorrect. It seems that the scribe started to write ‘Seiða’ but then tried to change it into something else by adding <y> or <v> in front of the <e>. The left stroke of <y> merges with the <S> and the right stroke is not decisive enough, so ‘Seiða’ is the best reading. In E, Finnur Jónsson read ‘Sniða’ (‘cut’), and printed it that way without comments in Skj A and E 1916, but the scribe clearly wrote ‘Suida’ as did the scribe of 81a. AM 304ˣ has sneiða ‘hurry’, but in view of the readings of the other mss, this looks like a lectio facilior. It is hard to make sense of svíða ‘scorch, burn’ in this context. Possibly the ships are seen from afar leaving a wake so they seem to burn a line across the sea. On the other hand, svíða might be related to the Faroese verb svíða ‘waver’ or ‘rush by’ and the Norw. verb svida ‘move easily’. Flat has ‘Sveiða’ (sveiða) ‘wander, soar’. According to Ásgeir Blöndal Magnússon (ÍO 995), the verb sveiða first appears in Icel. in the C15th, but he points out that there is one example of the verb in pres. part., sveiðandi, which could very well mean svífandi ‘soaring’. It therefore seems reasonable to translate svíða as ‘move swiftly’.


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