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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. Anonymous Poems, 2. Liðsmannaflokkr, 4 [Vol. 1, 1020]

[5] á hauðr heiði ‘on … heath’: Both the Flat reading ‘haurd’ (normalised hǫrð f. nom. sg. ‘hard’) and the DG8 reading ‘haudr’ (normalised hauðr n. ‘land’) are difficult to accommodate in the helmingr. (a) Finnur Jónsson in Skj B emends to hjǫrs, hence hríð hjǫrs ‘storm of the sword [BATTLE]’. (b) Kock in Skald and NN §2772 emends to Hǫðs (the battle-god Hǫðr). (c) However, hríð can stand alone in the sense ‘battle’ or ‘onslaught, phase in a battle’ as in st. 5/8 (and cf. Note to Edáð Banddr 6/2), and if it does so here, the readings ‘haudr’ and ‘haurd’ might instead represent the first element in a cpd p. n. *hau(r)ð(r)-heiði, separated by tmesis in order to accommodate the name within regular dróttkvætt metre (cf., e.g., Hfr Óldr 2/7, 8 Heiðabý(r) and Gade 1995a, 214). But whether a p. n. is intended and what name it might represent remains unclear (CPB II, 107; Poole 1987, 287; Townend 1998, 33). (d) The Flat readings ‘er’ (normalised es) and ‘haurd’ (hǫrð) give Áðr es harða hǫrð hríð á heiði; víkingar kníðu ‘Earlier, there is a very hard battle on the heath; vikings pressed on’. Knýja ‘strike, press on’ can be intransitive, and the collocation hǫrð hríð ‘hard battle’ also occurs in sts 5/7, 8 and 6/3, 4; the adv. harða ‘very’ could be normalised to the older form harðla. However, the pres. tense es ‘is’ would be anomalous in this stanza and would sit awkwardly with áðr ‘before’.


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