Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson, Lausavísur, 21 [Vol. 2, 599-600]

[2, 4] Hlín svalteigar ‘Hlín <goddess> of the cool plot [SEA > WOMAN]’: Svalteigr ‘cool plot’ is very clearly a kenning for ‘sea’, albeit an unusual one, since the determinant would normally be a noun referring to an attribute of the sea such as a sea-king, sea-creature or waves (Meissner 92-8). Bibire 1988 links this with hreggi ‘storm’ in l. 1 and leaves the goddess-name Hlín isolated as a heiti for ‘woman’; such half-kennings are uncharacteristic of Rǫgnvaldr. Skj B solves the problem by emending Hlín to a verb hvínn (3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of hvína ‘squeak’) and construing the cl. differently (svǫrðr hvínn ‘the hawser squeaks’). The interpretation here follows ÍF 34: while the woman-kenning Hlín svalteigar ‘goddess of the cool plot (of ground)’ is unparalleled, it appears to belong to a type identified by Meissner in which a word for ‘fire, light’ has been omitted and which eventually becomes a recognised type (Meissner 419). It is possible that at some stage in its textual history the st. may have become irretrievably corrupted by association with a woman-kenning such as Hlín valteigar ‘goddess of the falcon-plot (arm)’, which is of a common type (cf. LP: Hlín), but is impossible here since it would not provide the requisite alliteration.

references

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