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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Eyv Lv 14I

[2] ok galt við fjǫrðhjǫrðu ‘and I spent it on fjord-herds [HERRINGS]’: A definitive interpretation has yet to emerge. (a) Adopted in this edn is the reading of Finnur Jónsson, which assumes the tmesis, fjǫrð-hjǫrðu ‘fjord-herds [HERRINGS]’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; cf. Frank 1978, 115-16). On this reading the imagery of this witty stanza is wholly consistent. See Note to st. 13/5 on the specific sense ‘herrings’. (b) A widely-adopted alternative construal takes fjǫrð as meaning ‘last year’, thus leaving the noun hjǫrðu ‘herds’ free-standing and to be understood in its ordinary sense (CPB II, 37; ÍF 26; Turville-Petre 1976, 45). This analysis produces good sense and matches the prose narrative, which clearly understands Eyvindr as referring to livestock (bús), but possibly this reference is inferred from the stanzas themselves (cf. Olsen 1945b, 177-8). (c) Kock (NN §§1953A, 2905), reads fjarðar ‘of the fjord’ in place of fjǫrð ok, obtaining the same meaning, ‘herrings’, while avoiding tmesis, but a tmesis where the first (monosyllabic) word in a line is understood in combination with the last word of the line is a recognised type and quite prevalent in C10th skaldic style (Reichardt 1969).


  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. Frank, Roberta. 1978. Old Norse Court Poetry: The Dróttkvætt Stanza. Islandica 42. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
  5. CPB = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and F. York Powell, eds. 1883. Corpus poeticum boreale: The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1965, New York: Russell & Russell.
  6. Turville-Petre, Gabriel. 1976. Scaldic Poetry. Oxford: Clarendon.
  7. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  8. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  9. Olsen, Magnus. 1945b. ‘Skaldevers om nods-år nordenfjells’. In Festskrift til Konrad Nielsen på 70-årsdagen, 28. august 1945. Studia Septentrionalia 2. Oslo: Brøgger, 176-92.
  10. Reichardt, Konstantin. 1969. ‘A Contribution to the Interpretation of Skaldic Poetry: Tmesis’. In Polomé 1969, 200-26.


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