Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 54. Hallar-Steinn, 1. Rekstefja, 26 [Vol. 1, 928]

[1] vætki rofna valstafns ‘not giving way in the falcon-stem [ARM]’: (a) The line is problematic, but the present interpretation (which matches that of SHI 3 and Konráð Gíslason 1895-7) gives reasonable sense by taking rofna as the adjectival m. acc. pl. p. p. from rjúfa ‘to break’, hence, with the negative vætki, ‘not at all broken, not giving way or failing’. This is taken with the arm-kenning valstafns, hence ‘not giving way in the arm’ (cf. NS §137 for adj. + gen. constructions), and it qualifies hirðmeðr ‘retainers’ (l. 4), characterizing them as powerful warriors (and perhaps, in the context, climbers). (b) The reading of the ÓT mss, vask jafns rofnat, is still more difficult to construe. Finnur Jónsson’s solution (Skj B) involves emendation to (rofna) vizku ‘(deprived of) their wits’, as well as a complex word order. (c) This is rejected by Kock (NN §1183), whose interpretation involves postulating a verb *rafna ‘perform’ (cf. OE ræfnian ‘perform, carry out’).


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