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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, 4. Sexstefja, 27 [Vol. 2, 140-3]

[7] hlæmyldar holdi ‘warmly soil-covered with flesh’: This adjectival phrase evidently qualifies the arm-kenning kǫlfur hauks ‘territories of the hawk’. Although only U(31r) has hlæ- and only U(44r) has -myld-, both readings constitute the lectio difficilior, and provide an unusual but acceptable image. Myldr could be a derivative of mold ‘soil’, hence myldar holdi ‘soil-covered with flesh’ (myldar f. acc. pl. agreeing with kǫlfur ‘territories’). Hlær ‘warm’ describes the flesh, reinforcing the referent ‘arm’ rather than the metaphorical ‘territories’, but it is here translated adverbially, as ‘warmly’, as an analogue to the fact that it is compounded with myldr. (b) The majority, and more obvious, reading hlémildr ‘shelter-generous’ is difficult to account for, unless by Faulkes’ suggestion hlémildrar holdi ‘shelter-generous ... (of arms), providing a place for flesh to sit’ (SnE 1998, II, 312); but surely flesh shelters the arms rather than the reverse.

references

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