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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Eil Þdr 13III

[1-2] kneyfi dróttar kolgu dolg-Svíþjóðar ‘the oppressor of the host of the wave of the hostile Sweden [= Gandvík > GIANTS > = Þórr]’: Line 2 must contain a determinant for dróttar ‘of the host’ (l. 1) to form a kenning that refers to a giant of whom Þórr can be the oppressor (kneyfir). To avoid construing a kenning in which dolg ‘enemy’ (l. 2) is connected with ferð ‘troop’ (l. 3) to form a cpd (tmesis) (so Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1851, 14; Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 392), dolg could be taken as the first element of a cpd with Svíþjóðar as the second element (so NN §458; Davidson 1983, 618). Dolg-Svíþjóðar ‘of the hostile Sweden’ is then a variation on ‘enemy land’, which needs another determinant, namely, kolgu ‘of the wave’. Kolgu dolg-Svíþjóðar ‘of the cold wave of the hostile Sweden’ can be interpreted as a kenning for Gandvík, the White Sea (see Note to st. 2/6). Thus the giant-kenning ‘the host of the White Sea’ corresponds to the giant-kenning ‘the Scots of Gandvík’ in st. 2. According to Kock (NN §458) the kenning kolga dolg-Svíþjóðar refers to the river Þórr has to cross. Reichardt (1948, 368) forms the cpd dolg-kolgu (l. 2) and construes dróttar Svíþjóðar dolg-kolgu ‘the host of the land of the hostile wave’. This solution also seems acceptable, although it contains tmesis (but within the same line).


  1. Bibliography
  2. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. Davidson, Daphne L. 1983. ‘Earl Hákon and his Poets’. D. Phil. thesis. Oxford.
  4. Finnur Jónsson. 1900b. ‘Þórsdrápa Eilífs Goðrúnarsonar’. Oversigt over det Kgl. Danske videnskabernes selskabs forhandlinger 1900, 369-410.
  5. Reichardt, Konstantin. 1948. ‘Die Thórsdrápa des Eilífr Goðrúnarson: Textinterpretation’. PMLA 63, 329-91.
  6. Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 1851. Tvö brot af Haustlaung og Þórsdrápa. Reykjavík: Prentað á kostnað skólasjóðsins.


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