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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 18. Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, 3. Lausavísur, 3 [Vol. 1, 333]

[4] spor sárelda ‘tracks of wound-fires [SWORDS > WOUNDS]’: Adopting 7’s reading spor ‘tracks’ for the base-word of this tvíkent (‘doubly modified’) kenning allows one to construe it as referring to wounds (which are already in play in sárelda ‘of wound-fires’). This is evidently how it was understood by Magnús Óláfsson in LaufE, since ll. 1-4 are preceded there by a remark that wounds can be referred to as fet eda spór jarnana ‘feet or tracks of iron (weapons)’. Ólafur Halldórsson (Jvs 1969, 217) has argued that the other ms. variants perhaps suggest an original reading more like spôr ‘prophecies’. This could form a battle-kenning with sárelda, but ‘battle’ would fit the context less well, and spôr, as a noun consisting of a long syllable in metrical position 4 in the line, would be irregular. Ólafur suggests a punning connection (ofljóst) with a base-word for ‘wave’, from spô via boði ‘messenger, announcer’, a word that has another sense ‘breaker on hidden rocks’, hence ‘wave’. A kenning with the sense ‘wave of wound-fires’ could then have the referent ‘blood’, giving ll. 3-4 the sense ‘when blood flowed (lit. was) around him’.


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