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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Anonymous Þulur, 6. Dverga heiti, 2 [Vol. 3, 695]

[8] Skirvir, Virvir: So A and papp10ˣ, whereas the second name is rendered as Vivir in 2368ˣ and 743ˣ. Cf. Vsp 15/5 (NK 4) Scirvir, Virvir and Skirpir, Virpir in Gylf (SnE 2005, 16). Ms. B is now damaged (‘sk[…]ir v[…]ir’), but 744ˣ indicates that the B reading is likely to have been Skirfir Virfir (which are the forms adopted in Skj B and Skald). The first name probably means ‘stump one’ or ‘short one’ (cf. New Norw. skirvel, skjervel ‘stump, cut off’; see ÍO: skirfir). According to Gould (1929, 953), the word refers to a skilful artisan, a ‘joiner who makes herring-bone panelling’ (cf. New Norw. skjerva ‘to make herring-bone panelling’). As to the second name, Gould (1929, 955) explains it as ‘dyer’ (cognate with OFris. verver ‘dyer’; see also Note to Virfill in Þul Sækonunga 5/1 and Þul Hesta 4/8). Virvir may also be derived from *werfia- ‘turn’ and interpreted as ‘crafty, cunning one’ (see ÍO: Virfir). None of these names occurs in other sources.


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