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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Hfr ErfÓl 19I

[5-6, 7-8] ærir elds hôklifs hauka ‘envoys of the fire of the high cliff of hawks [ARM > GOLD > GENEROUS MEN]’: This interpretation (that of Skj B, followed by Reichardt 1928, 213 and Ólafur Halldórsson in ÍF 25) means that l. 7 contains elements from three different clauses, a syntactic arrangement which is unique in the skaldic corpus (Gade 1995a, 13, 215-16). Two redistributions of the kenning components to avoid this situation have been suggested. (a) Kock (NN §511) has ærir elds ‘envoys of fire/the sword [WARRIORS]’ and jǫfurr hôklifs hauka ‘lord of the high cliff of hawks [NORWAY > = Óláfr]’. It is conceivable that eldr could mean ‘sword’ (cf. Note to st. 6/4), but Kock’s case for hôklif hauka as a synecdoche for Norway, based on the (inexact) parallels fjǫrðjǫrð ‘fjord-land’ Hókr Eirfl 5/3 and vegr jǫtna ‘way of giants’ ESkál Vell 14/5, is not convincing. (b) Kuhn (1929b, 201) suggests jǫfurr hauka ‘lord of hawks [soldiers]’, i.e. Óláfr (cf. skyldir hauka, st. 2/3 and Note) and ærir elds háklifs ‘envoys of the fire of the shark-cliff [SEA > GOLD > GENEROUS MEN]’ (or perhaps the same, but with ‘rowlock-cliff’, from hár m. ‘thole-pin, rowlock’). Von See (1980, 28-32; 1999b, 267-8), in surveys of scholarship on this helmingr, rejects Kuhn’s interpretation on the grounds that hár ‘shark’ is only otherwise found in þulur, whereas klif hauka ‘hawks’ cliff [ARM]’ is a habitual collocation, and Kock (NN §2451) had also noted problems with it. Hofmann (1981, 14-15) points out in response that háklif ‘shark/rowlock-cliff’ would in fact be distinct from hôklif ‘high cliff’ in oral delivery due to its different vowel quality, and that parallels for the sea-kenning Kuhn proposes do exist, incorporating both terms for sea-creatures (humra fjǫll ‘lobsters’ mountain’ ÞGísl Búdr 2/4) and nautical terms (stafnklif ‘stem-cliff’ Þloft Tøgdr 4/6). Hofmann’s arguments are convincing, and Kuhn’s interpretation is a viable alternative.

References

  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. Hofmann, Dietrich. 1981. ‘Die Skaldendichtung aus heutiger Sicht. Zu Klaus von Sees Einführung’. skandinavistik 11, 9-22.
  6. Kuhn, Hans (1899). 1929b. Review of Konstantin Reichardt. 1928. Studien zu den Skalden des 9. und 10. Jahrhunderts. Leipzig: Mayer & Müller. GGA, 193-202. Rpt. in Kuhn (1899) 1969-78, I, 421-9
  7. Reichardt, Konstantin. 1928. Studien zu den Skalden des 9. und 10. Jahrhunderts. Palaestra 159. Leipzig: Mayer & Müller.
  8. See, Klaus von. 1980. Skaldendichtung: Eine Einführung. Munich and Zürich: Artemis.
  9. ÍF 25 = Færeyinga saga; Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar eptir Odd munk Snorrason. Ed. Ólafur Halldórsson. 2006.
  10. Internal references
  11. Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, Vellekla 14’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 301.
  12. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2012, ‘Halldórr ókristni, Eiríksflokkr 5’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 479.
  13. Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorkell Gíslason, Búadrápa 2’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 944.
  14. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa 4’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 857.

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