Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 13. Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, 1. Hákonarmál, 2 [Vol. 1, 176]

[5] dolgráar drúpðu ‘enmity-yard-arms [SPEARS] drooped’: The verb usually refers to drooping of the head. The idea here may be that the spears are tilted, either in their flight over the host (so Hkr 1991) or in a position ready to be cast (so LP: drúpa 2; Olsen 1962a, 4; Hkr 1991 again), or that they droop to drink blood (so CVC: drúpa; cf. lutu ‘bent’ in st. 7/3). Olsen (1916a, 3) sees in this line reference to a spear set to be cast over the enemy host to consecrate them as a sacrifice to Óðinn (cf. Þhorn Harkv 12/2). Sahlgren (1927-8, I, 60-1) believes that Snorri is interpreting ll. 5-6 when he relates (ÍF 26, 188) that after men had cast spears, they drew their swords. As an alternative he proposes to read dolgarar (the reading of J1ˣ, J2ˣ) ‘eagles of hostility’, i.e. of battle (cf. Grí 10). A further suggestion is dolgárar ‘battle-oars’ as a kenning for ‘swords’ (Nygaard 1875, 320; Wimmer 1877, 129; cf. Krause 1990, 44: dolgôr). Still others have assumed words meaning ‘enemies’, presumably feeling an animate subject to be more suitable for drúpðu ‘drooped’: either dolgar (Munch and Unger 1847, 115; Ettmüller 1858, 26; Ettmüller 1861, 26; Möbius 1860, 232; Cederström 1860, 7), or dolgárar (lit. ‘strife-envoys’, Tvedt 1921, 55); cf. also Du Méril (1839, 158), and Uppström (1919, 46).

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