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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 3. Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, 2. Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál), 23 [Vol. 1, 116]

[10] hældræpir ‘who deserve kicking’: Lit. ‘heel-strikable, worthy to be struck with the heel’. Sigfús Blöndal (1927-8) suggests a pun on the alternate meaning ‘reaching to the heels’ in conjunction with his proposal that the caps have comically long peaks or tassels. Flo (1902, 69) takes the word to mean ‘one who hops or dances on his heels’ and similarly Kershaw (1922, 87) translates ‘skipping’. ÍF 29, 64 adopts the reading heldræpir ‘who may be dispatched to death/the realm of the dead’ in the FskA transcripts and interprets it to mean réttdræpir, i.e. ‘who may be killed without legal offence’ (similarly Magerøy 1963, 86). This analysis was first proposed by Benedikt Gröndal, as reported by Sueti (1884, 32-3).


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