Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, 4. Þorfinnsdrápa, 7 [Vol. 2, 237-8]

[2] skilit ‘decisively’: The ms. form ‘skilit’ in 332ˣ and Flat is most likely to be n. nom./acc. sg. of the p. p. from skilja ‘separate, discern’. ‘Skilid’ in R702ˣ is ambiguous, since in the orthography of that ms. it could represent either -it or -. (a) Skilit is taken here as an adverbial use of the n. sg. p. p. of skilja. This usually has the sense ‘clearly, distinctly’ and occurs in phrases involving ‘distinct’ hearing or telling, e.g. Hfr ErfÓl 12/7I skilit frá ek ‘I heard clearly’. The adj. skilinn, however, can be applied to human actions as well as words in the sense ‘astute, reasonable’ (see Fritzner: skilinn 2), and this supports the interpretation ‘decisively, unhesitatingly’ adopted here (so also Finnur Jónsson in Skj B and Finnbogi Guðmundsson in ÍF 34, 47 n.). (b) Skilið, if n. acc. pl. applied to skip ‘ships’ would mean ‘separate’, i.e. not linked together. But the writer of Orkn (ch. 20) certainly did not understand the words thus, for he states that both leaders tied their fleets together.

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