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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, 4. Þorfinnsdrápa, 23 [Vol. 2, 257-8]

[3-4] hvé Þórfinnr þótti ‘how Þorfinnr was regarded’: The variant readings hvé/hverr and Þorfinns/Þorfinnr yield four possible ways in which the ll. can be interpreted. Whichever readings are adopted, the result is a subordinate cl. dependent on rétt segik þjóð ‘I tell men truly’. (a) Hvé þótti Þorfinnr, lit. ‘what kind of man Þorfinnr seemed / how Þorfinnr was regarded’, is found in mss 325V, Flat and probably also 325VI. This reading is adopted here, following ÍF 34, 81, though it is only marginally superior to (b) and (c) below. (b) Hverr þótti Þorfinns is the reading of the main ms. and two others. If the meaning were ‘who was considered Þorfinnr’s (subject)’ it would accord particularly well with the remainder of the helmingr, but this assumption may be slightly forced. (c) Hverr þótti Þorfinnr, lit. ‘who Þorfinnr was considered to be’, could have the sense ‘what ... like, how great’, but this is the reading only of the often unreliable mss Bb and Tóm; it is nevertheless adopted in Skj B and retained in Skald. (d) The remaining option, hvé þótti Þorfinns (in three mss), makes no sense.


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