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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 13. Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, 1. Hákonarmál, 6 [Vol. 1, 180]

[1-4]: (a) Of (l. 2), the reading of FskBˣ (and its sister transcripts 51ˣ and 302ˣ), is here taken as the expletive particle and adopted rather than the Hkr reading ok ‘and’ (so also Kock, Skald). Of bauga, the particle plus bauga (gen. pl.) ‘of rings’, occurs again in st. 8/4, written um bauga. The reading um/of also appears to be supported by ‘tysvin’ in FskAˣ (and 52ˣ and 301ˣ), which is almost certainly an error for ‘tysvm’ (= týs of, so Jón Helgason 1968); the same error, vin for um = of, occurs in the same mss in Þhorn Harkv 2/8. This solution seems preferable to the alternatives, although it entails assuming an understood conj. between tǫrgur and Norðmanna hausar, hence ‘shields and Norwegians’ skulls’, as well as the difficulty articulated by Sahlgren in (c) below. (b) It is possible to retain the Hkr reading ok, giving a cpd gen. phrase ‘under the swords of the warrior [Hákon] and of the Norwegians’ (so Skj B and, presumably, Möbius (1860) and Fsk 1902-3), or ‘under the hard feet [weapons (?)] of the god of hilts [swords] and shields [WARRIOR]’ (so Hkr 1991). However, the resulting syntax is strained. (c) Sahlgren (1927-8, I, 53-4) thinks it unlikely that Norwegians’ skulls (hausar Norðmanna, l. 4), should here be said to be trampled, and he would construe Norðmanna with harðfótum hjalta ‘hard feet of hilts [SWORDS]’ (so earlier Olsen 1916a, 3, though his overall interpretation of the helmingr is unconvincing). (d) Lie (1948), for similar reasons, would adopt the Fsk reading hausa, as opposed to hausar in the other mss, interpreting it as ‘head’ (gen. sg. of a rare hausi m.), in reference to Haraldr as ‘head’ of the Norwegians, parallel to týs of bauga (cf. also Herbert 1804, 122-3; Ulset 1975, 48; Seim 1984). (e) Lindquist (1929, 12-13) takes the meaning to be that shields made it difficult for the swords to get at the Norwegians’ heads.


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