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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, 4. Þorfinnsdrápa, 18 [Vol. 2, 250]

[8] morginhræ ‘morning carrion’: A unique cpd playing on morgunverðr, -matr ‘morning meal, breakfast’ is assumed here, cf. Þþyn Lv l. 3IV (c. 955), where the carrion-greedy raven demands its morginbrð ‘morning flesh’; cf. also the macabre application of the culinary bráðla steikðan ‘swiftly roasted’ to corpses in Arn Magndr 8/5. (b) Morgin could alternatively be read as an acc. of time ‘in the morning, by morning’ (so Finnbogi Guðmundsson in ÍF 34), cf. fríamorgin ‘on Friday morning’ in st. 13, and margan morgin ‘(on) many a morning’, Sigv Vestv 1/1-2I. This could qualify any or all of the four clauses in the helmingr, though the best solution semantically, of construing it with [e]s þótti vígljóst ‘once it seemed light enough for battle’ (l. 5), entails a problematic division of l. 8 into parts of three clauses. (c) Kock suggested that uggs morginn is a unitary phrase meaning ‘morning of terror’, a contrasting expression to feginsmorginn ‘morning of joy’ in ESk Sigdr I 3/8. However, while fegin(s) is based on an adj. and very commonly figures in cpd expressions, uggs is a noun and is not otherwise recorded in this role. (d) Finnur Jónsson, in Skj B, emended morgun/morgin to -inn and vigljóst in l. 5 to -ljóss in order to obtain es morginn þótti vígljóss ‘when the morning seemed light enough for fighting’. But the problem of the partitioning of l. 8, mentioned under alternative (b) above, arises again and the emendation is not strictly necessary.


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