Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, 4. Þorfinnsdrápa, 19 [Vol. 2, 251-2]

[8] of líma ‘about the mast’: (a) Lími ‘rod, twig, broom’ here probably has the sense ‘mast’ (so also Finnbogi Guðmundsson, ÍF 34), just as vǫndr can mean ‘twig, rod’ and ‘mast’ and indeed is used by Arnórr in this sense in Hryn 4/5; cf. also laukr ‘leek, upright plant, mast’. The resulting image of sea-spray frosting the mast is entirely credible and finds approximate parallels in OE poetry (Whaley 1998, 306). (b) Björn Magnússon Ólsen (1909, 300-1) suggested that lími shares with vǫndr another meaning: the stripe or coloured decoration on a sail, or here on the ship’s awnings. He reads líma blu tjaldi ‘the decoration of the dark awnings’ together as object to ‘the wave had thickly encrusted with frost’. But this assumes tjaldi to be a poss. dat., which is otherwise very unusual when the possessor is an inanimate object. (The parallels cited by Björn, in NS §100 anm. 3, are not close.)


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