Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. Anonymous Poems, 2. Liðsmannaflokkr, 3 [Vol. 1, 1019]

[1] þollr glaums ‘the pine-tree of revelry [MAN]’: Several interpretations are possible, depending on how other nouns in the helmingr are construed. (a) This is tentatively taken as an irregular, derogatory kenning that evokes pleasures of the hall instead of military activities, characterising the stay-at-home who is the target of the stanza. The remaining analyses produce standard warrior-kennings. (b) Kock (Skald and NN §596) also construes these two words as a kenning, but takes glaumr ‘revelry’ to be a heiti for ‘battle’. (c) A more regular kenning is obtained if randar ‘of the shield’ (l. 3) is read as part of the determinant, hence þollr glaums randar ‘pine-tree of the revelry of the shield [BATTLE > WARRIOR]’ (so Skj B; ÓHLeg 1982). This leaves skóð ‘harm(s)’ (l. 3) as a heiti for a weapon, which is unproblematic in itself (LP: skóð) but entails a contorted word order (as pointed out in NN §596). (d) Another potential determinant is obtained if of grímu (l. 1) is read as the expletive particle of plus f. gen. sg. grímu in the sense ‘mask, helmet’; but in context a prepositional use of of seems more likely, hence of grímu ‘in darkness’. This is compatible with the surprise attack depicted in st. 1.

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