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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

8. Ketils saga hœngs 39 (Ketill hœngr, Lausavísur, 22) — Ketill [Vol. 8, 594]

[7-8] heill er horfin* okkr báðum, ef þú bilar þriðja sinn ‘luck has turned away from us both, if you fail a third time’: In all mss, with the exception of 343a, l. 8 is a dependent clause introduced by ef ‘if’. Such a dependent clause is necessary in the context of the stanza, as immediately after in the next stanza Ketill (Ket 40) asserts that his sword will not fail three times and this assertion is borne out by the fact that the third blow is fatal to Framarr (cf. the Context to Ket 41). Like most previous eds the present one therefore adds this conj. As it stands, bilar ‘fail’ is the only word in l. 8 which alliterates with a word in l. 7 (báðum ‘both’). The first noun (or adj.) of the line should alliterate (i.e. the noun heill ‘luck’, which precedes báðum; cf. von See 1967, 19-20). Some eds therefore alter the word order of l. 7 to Báðum er okkr heill horfin (so Edd. Min.; FSGJ). Skj B and Skald emend bilar ‘fail’ to hrøkkr ‘give way’, 3rd pers. sg. pres. of the strong verb hrøkkva, doubtless because the words horfin and heill in the first half-line suggest alliteration on <h>. In CPB II, 559 the line is retained as it stands in 343a.


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