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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 28. Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, 2. Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar, 17 [Vol. 1, 424]

[All]: The helmingar are neatly balanced semantically and syntactically. In the first Óláfr, guiding Ormr south before the battle, is the subject; in the second a ship is steered north by Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson. The stanza could be seen as describing the adversaries sailing towards one another before the battle, as, e.g., in ÞjóðA Lv 9II and Þfagr Sveinn 3II, and may play on this tradition, but the prose context is clearly correct in taking the second helmingr as an account of the victor Eiríkr steering the same ship back north after the battle. This is indicated by þeim ‘that’ in l. 6, and by the fact that the strong stress on áðr in l. 7 (indicated by the skothending with góðan) and the word order suggest it is the adv. ‘earlier’ not the conj. ‘before’. On the placing of the stanza, see Introduction.


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