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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to RvHbreiðm Hl 6III

[5] ldu ... Gunnari ‘praised ... to Gunnarr’: These readings are conjectural and follow a suggestion by Holtsmark (Hl 1941). The emendation is not entirely satisfactory, because it violates the word order in an independent clause (the finite verb appears in syntactic position 3). Such a violation seems unavoidable here, however, because the verb is clearly contained in metrical positions 5-6 and preceded by two words that apparently do not form a syntactic unit. Skj B construes helju Hǫgna seldu ‘(they) gave Hǫgni to Hel’ without support from the ms. witnesses. Kock (NN §490) suggests heldr gumna vin heldu ‘well (they) kept for the friend of the people’. This is not supported by the main ms. and it is even less likely from the point of view of the metre (such Type E-lines are extremely rare and not used in sentence introduction, see Gade 1995a, 73). The reading seldu ‘gave’ is metrically incorrect (h- is required by alliteration). Jón Helgason (Hl 1941) supplies hjaldrgims hristi seldu ‘to the shaker of the battle-fire [SWORD > WARRIOR] they gave’, which is metrically unlikely (a tvískelft line with a finite verb in positions 5-6) and not supported by the ms. witnesses.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Gade, Kari Ellen. 1995a. The Structure of Old Norse dróttkvætt Poetry. Islandica 49. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
  5. Hl 1941 = Jón Helgason and Anne Holtsmark, eds. 1941. Háttalykill enn forni. BA 1. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.


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