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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, 5. Haraldsdrápa, 16 [Vol. 2, 278-9]

[5, 8] heilǫg fold in* øfra ‘the holy land on high [lit. the holy, higher land]’: There is no m. or n. noun which ‘ens ofra’ (ins øfra ‘of the higher’) in the mss could qualify. (a) The emendation produces what seems a natural expression for ‘heaven’, and it is supported by the occurrence of fold ‘land, earth’ in later heaven-kennings: fold éls ‘storm’s ground’ (Anon Pl 26/5, 7VII) and skýfold ‘cloud-land’ (Anon Mgr 43/6VII). In øfra is also partially paralleled by ofar lǫndum meaning ‘in heaven’ in a similar context in Hfr ErfÓl 27/8I. (b) Kock retains the ms. reading, taking heilǫg fold ens øfra to mean ‘the holy land of the High One (God)’ (NN §842), but it seems unlikely that a mere comparative would be applied to God, and there is no evidence for this. (c) Finnur Jónsson in Skj B emends to et øfra, which he takes with heilǫg fold in the sense ‘up there’ (deroppe). Adverbial it øfra most usually means ‘by the inland route’ and is accompanied by a verb of motion and some indication of destination, but ‘up there, in the air’ does find some support, albeit slight: see Fritzner: efri 1a.

references

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