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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl II 59VIII (Bret 59) l. 4

moldar — on earth


mold (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -u; -ir): earth, soil



[3-4] má marka ... hvergi moldar ‘it will not be possible anywhere on earth to distinguish’: An impersonal construction, lit. ‘one can distinguish nowhere of earth’. The sense, in the context of ll. 5-8 and II 60/1-4, appears to be that the stars (and with them the sun and the moon, II 58/5-8), following perturbed courses, can no longer be identified or distinguished one from another, even if they are still visible. With that, human systems of time-keeping and navigation would collapse, an idea hinted at in II 57/6 tíðmǫrk himins ‘time-markers of heaven’. Cf. the admonition to the would-be merchant in Kgs (Holm-Olsen 1983, 130): Nemðu uandliga birting lopz oc gang himintvngla ‘Note carefully the illumination of the sky and the movement of the heavenly bodies’. Skj B translates marka af as tage mærke af ‘take notice of, recognise’, cf. Bret 1848-9 and Merl 2012. — [4] hvergi moldar ‘anywhere on earth’: Lit. ‘nowhere of earth’: A well attested usage, for the syntax of which see Fritzner: hvergi adv. 3; CVC, LP: hvergi. The line is so construed in Skj B. In Bret 1848-9, by contrast, hvergi moldar appears to be interpreted as ‘nowhere in the firmament’, but that is unlikely in view of the standard senses of mold ‘earth’. Merl 2012 takes a radically different approach, construing hvergi as equivalent to hverrgi ‘no one’, taken as subject of ‘can’, but a phrase hver[r]gi moldar, translated as keiner auf der Erde ‘no one on Earth’, is not otherwise attested.



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