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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, 4. Þorfinnsdrápa, 8 [Vol. 2, 238-40]

[8] ruðu branda ‘they reddened swords’: (a) This is taken as a cl. complete in itself (so also Kock, NN §829). The understood subject must be Þorfinnr and his men (the minna neyti ‘smaller company’ of l. 3). Another probable example of a pl. verb lacking an explicit subject is brenndu ‘burned’ in st. 11/1. (b) Ruðu has an explicit subject if áðr grams menn fellu ‘before the ruler’s men fell’ (l. 5) and ruðu branda ‘they reddened swords’ are read together as a single sentence, ‘before the ruler’s men fell, they reddened their swords’ (so Skj B, marking off grams menn by commas so that it is subject to ruðu); but it is rare for a subordinate cl. beginning with áðr ‘before’ to precede its main cl. (c) Ólafur Halldórsson (1964, 149-50, followed by Finnbogi Guðmundsson, ÍF 34, 48) emended to ruðum ‘we reddened’, but this seems unnecessary, and there is no other mention of Arnórr’s presence at this battle.


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