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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 21. Þorleifr skúma Þorkelsson, Lausavísa, 1 [Vol. 1, 360]

[All]: The stanza consists of ten lines rather than the more conventional eight, and Fsk omits lines 5-6 (Finnur Jónsson in Skj B prints these in brackets). Meanwhile, doubt has been cast over ll. 3-4. Björn Magnússon Ólsen (FoGT 1884, 263-4) noted that omitting them obviates some problems in the stanza, especially in l. 2. Firstly, til hǫfuðs ‘against heads’ or lit. ‘to the head’ is obscure since nothing in ll. 1-4 specifies whose head, and secondly, in an otherwise straightforward stanza, it is awkward that gerva (f. acc. sg.) in l. 2 is immediately followed by beinbrot n. ‘bone-breaker, bone-breaking’ in l. 3. To the latter problem the main solutions Björn mentions are that gerva ‘readied’ qualifies an unspoken kylfu (f. acc. sg.) ‘club’; that it qualifies v (f. acc. sg.) ‘woe’ in l. 5; or (his favoured option), that ll. 3-4 should be omitted. He suggests that this would also allow for víkinga (gen. pl.) ‘of vikings’ to function both with ‘woe’ and with hǫfuðs ‘head’ (cf. FoGT 2004, where hǫfuðs víkinga ‘head(s) of the vikings’ is construed together, leaving ‘woe’ unqualified and referring to the club).


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