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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 19. Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa, 5 [Vol. 1, 347]

[1-4]: No wholly satisfactory solution to the difficulties posed by the ms. text has been devised thus far. In this edn it is proposed that gen. sg. dóms ‘judgement’ in l. 3 be emended to acc. sg. dóm, construed as the object of kenndi (from kenna ‘to teach’), with hermǫrum ára ‘war-horses of oars [SHIPS]’ (presumably the enemy ships) as the dat. of those taught. The construction is paralleled in st. 6/5-8, though applied in an unusual way here since those taught are inanimate. The result is three kennings in the helmingr, as contrasted with the two identified in previous scholarship, but less complex syntax and more idiomatic skaldic usage. Previous suggestions can be summarised as follows. (a) Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 333) takes en in l. 1 as the def. art. enn/inn and ken(n)di as an adjectival p. p., hence the noun phrase enn Gǫndlar dóms kendi jarl, which he translates den i kampe prøvede jarl ‘the jarl proved in battle’. However, en(n) and ken(n)di are widely separated in the text and the gen. case Gǫndlar dóms ‘judgement of Gǫndul [BATTLE]’ modifying ken(n)di is not paralleled elsewhere. (b) Kock (NN §432; Skald) also takes ken(n)di as adjectival and reads the text as jarl enn ára | endr hermǫrum kendi and translates: den för sina örlogsfartyg förut välbekante jarlen ‘the jarl, well-known from beforehand for his battle-vessels’, but such a description would be hard to parallel. Further, the suggested combination of geirs and Gǫndlar dóms as ‘war-spear’ is not recognisable skaldic idiom.


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