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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hókr Eirfl 5I

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.

Halldórr ókristniEiríksflokkr
456

hukkaðik ‘’

Close

Hykkat ‘I do not believe’

2. hyggja (verb): think, consider

[1] Hykkat (‘Hykkat ek’): so Holm18, 61, 54, Bb, Flat, ‘hukkaðek’ FskAˣ, hykka ek 310

notes

[1, 4] hykkat vægð at vígi, ógnharðan spǫrðu sik ‘I do not believe there was mercy during the onslaught [or that] the battle-hard one [Eiríkr] spared himself’: (a) This sentence is awkward syntactically, because it presupposes two parallel constructions that are dependent on the verb hykkat ‘I do not believe’ (l. 1); namely vægð ‘mercy’ (with a suppressed vesa ‘be’) and ógnharðan spǫrðu sik ‘the battle-hard one spared himself’; spǫrðu is past inf. of spara ‘save’. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) takes jarl ‘the jarl’ (l. 3) as the object of hykkat and subject of spǫrðu (past inf. of spara ‘save’), and assigns ógnharðan to the second clause (ógnharðan jǫfur ‘the battle-hard prince). He construes the first clause as follows: Hykkat jarl spǫrðu sik vægð at vígi, translated as Jeg tror ikke jarlen sparede sig ved eftergivenhed under kampen ‘I do not believe that the jarl spared himself by letting up during the fight’. The problem is that this seems to assume that vægð is dat. sg. and is either to be construed with spara or as an adverbial dat., but both of these would be non-standard usages (cf. Fritzner: spara; NN §557). Moreover, Finnur’s interpretation results in tortuous syntax and a tripartite l. 3. The present edn follows Kock (NN §557) and ÍF 29.

Close

vægð ‘there was mercy’

vægð (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): mercy

[1] vægð: ‘vegia’ Holm18

notes

[1, 4] hykkat vægð at vígi, ógnharðan spǫrðu sik ‘I do not believe there was mercy during the onslaught [or that] the battle-hard one [Eiríkr] spared himself’: (a) This sentence is awkward syntactically, because it presupposes two parallel constructions that are dependent on the verb hykkat ‘I do not believe’ (l. 1); namely vægð ‘mercy’ (with a suppressed vesa ‘be’) and ógnharðan spǫrðu sik ‘the battle-hard one spared himself’; spǫrðu is past inf. of spara ‘save’. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) takes jarl ‘the jarl’ (l. 3) as the object of hykkat and subject of spǫrðu (past inf. of spara ‘save’), and assigns ógnharðan to the second clause (ógnharðan jǫfur ‘the battle-hard prince). He construes the first clause as follows: Hykkat jarl spǫrðu sik vægð at vígi, translated as Jeg tror ikke jarlen sparede sig ved eftergivenhed under kampen ‘I do not believe that the jarl spared himself by letting up during the fight’. The problem is that this seems to assume that vægð is dat. sg. and is either to be construed with spara or as an adverbial dat., but both of these would be non-standard usages (cf. Fritzner: spara; NN §557). Moreover, Finnur’s interpretation results in tortuous syntax and a tripartite l. 3. The present edn follows Kock (NN §557) and ÍF 29.

Close

at ‘during’

3. at (prep.): at, to

[1] at: af 54, Bb

notes

[1, 4] hykkat vægð at vígi, ógnharðan spǫrðu sik ‘I do not believe there was mercy during the onslaught [or that] the battle-hard one [Eiríkr] spared himself’: (a) This sentence is awkward syntactically, because it presupposes two parallel constructions that are dependent on the verb hykkat ‘I do not believe’ (l. 1); namely vægð ‘mercy’ (with a suppressed vesa ‘be’) and ógnharðan spǫrðu sik ‘the battle-hard one spared himself’; spǫrðu is past inf. of spara ‘save’. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) takes jarl ‘the jarl’ (l. 3) as the object of hykkat and subject of spǫrðu (past inf. of spara ‘save’), and assigns ógnharðan to the second clause (ógnharðan jǫfur ‘the battle-hard prince). He construes the first clause as follows: Hykkat jarl spǫrðu sik vægð at vígi, translated as Jeg tror ikke jarlen sparede sig ved eftergivenhed under kampen ‘I do not believe that the jarl spared himself by letting up during the fight’. The problem is that this seems to assume that vægð is dat. sg. and is either to be construed with spara or as an adverbial dat., but both of these would be non-standard usages (cf. Fritzner: spara; NN §557). Moreover, Finnur’s interpretation results in tortuous syntax and a tripartite l. 3. The present edn follows Kock (NN §557) and ÍF 29.

Close

vígi ‘the onslaught’

víg (noun n.; °-s; -): battle

notes

[1, 4] hykkat vægð at vígi, ógnharðan spǫrðu sik ‘I do not believe there was mercy during the onslaught [or that] the battle-hard one [Eiríkr] spared himself’: (a) This sentence is awkward syntactically, because it presupposes two parallel constructions that are dependent on the verb hykkat ‘I do not believe’ (l. 1); namely vægð ‘mercy’ (with a suppressed vesa ‘be’) and ógnharðan spǫrðu sik ‘the battle-hard one spared himself’; spǫrðu is past inf. of spara ‘save’. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) takes jarl ‘the jarl’ (l. 3) as the object of hykkat and subject of spǫrðu (past inf. of spara ‘save’), and assigns ógnharðan to the second clause (ógnharðan jǫfur ‘the battle-hard prince). He construes the first clause as follows: Hykkat jarl spǫrðu sik vægð at vígi, translated as Jeg tror ikke jarlen sparede sig ved eftergivenhed under kampen ‘I do not believe that the jarl spared himself by letting up during the fight’. The problem is that this seems to assume that vægð is dat. sg. and is either to be construed with spara or as an adverbial dat., but both of these would be non-standard usages (cf. Fritzner: spara; NN §557). Moreover, Finnur’s interpretation results in tortuous syntax and a tripartite l. 3. The present edn follows Kock (NN §557) and ÍF 29.

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vann ‘’

2. vinna (verb): perform, work

[2] vann: varm Flat

notes

[2] vann ... sóttan ‘attacked’: Lit. ‘got ... attacked’. Vinna is used pleonastically here (see NN §2921). — [3] fjǫrð ‘last year’: Fjǫrð is taken as an adv. (cf. st. 3/1 and Note there). Skj B (followed by ÍF 29) construes it as part of a cpd with tmesis (fjǫrðjǫrðu ‘fjord-land [NORWAY]’), which is possible. Kock (NN §§557, 1953A) regards fjǫrð ‘fjord’ as the acc. object of komsk, which is not possible (komask at e-u means ‘obtain sth.’ and komask cannot be construed with an acc. object).

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drótt ‘the retinue’

1. drótt (noun f.): troop

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sóttan ‘attacked’

sœkja (verb): seek, attack

notes

[2] vann ... sóttan ‘attacked’: Lit. ‘got ... attacked’. Vinna is used pleonastically here (see NN §2921). — [3] fjǫrð ‘last year’: Fjǫrð is taken as an adv. (cf. st. 3/1 and Note there). Skj B (followed by ÍF 29) construes it as part of a cpd with tmesis (fjǫrðjǫrðu ‘fjord-land [NORWAY]’), which is possible. Kock (NN §§557, 1953A) regards fjǫrð ‘fjord’ as the acc. object of komsk, which is not possible (komask at e-u means ‘obtain sth.’ and komask cannot be construed with an acc. object).

Close

fjǫrð ‘last year’

fjorð (adv.): last year

Close

komsk ‘obtained’

koma (verb; kem, kom/kvam, kominn): come

[3] komsk: so 310, 61, 54, Bb, Flat, kom FskAˣ, komt Holm18

notes

[3] komsk ‘obtained’: This is the reading of the majority of the ms. witnesses (adopted in Skald and ÍF 29). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) opts for the Holm18 variant, komt (2nd pers. sg. pret. indic.) ‘you came’, which is unwarranted.

Close

jarl ‘the jarl’

jarl (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): poet, earl

[3] jarl: jarls 61

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at ‘’

3. at (prep.): at, to

[3] at: af 54, Bb

Close

ógnharðan ‘the battle-hard one’

ógnharðr (adj.): [battle-hard one]

notes

[1, 4] hykkat vægð at vígi, ógnharðan spǫrðu sik ‘I do not believe there was mercy during the onslaught [or that] the battle-hard one [Eiríkr] spared himself’: (a) This sentence is awkward syntactically, because it presupposes two parallel constructions that are dependent on the verb hykkat ‘I do not believe’ (l. 1); namely vægð ‘mercy’ (with a suppressed vesa ‘be’) and ógnharðan spǫrðu sik ‘the battle-hard one spared himself’; spǫrðu is past inf. of spara ‘save’. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) takes jarl ‘the jarl’ (l. 3) as the object of hykkat and subject of spǫrðu (past inf. of spara ‘save’), and assigns ógnharðan to the second clause (ógnharðan jǫfur ‘the battle-hard prince). He construes the first clause as follows: Hykkat jarl spǫrðu sik vægð at vígi, translated as Jeg tror ikke jarlen sparede sig ved eftergivenhed under kampen ‘I do not believe that the jarl spared himself by letting up during the fight’. The problem is that this seems to assume that vægð is dat. sg. and is either to be construed with spara or as an adverbial dat., but both of these would be non-standard usages (cf. Fritzner: spara; NN §557). Moreover, Finnur’s interpretation results in tortuous syntax and a tripartite l. 3. The present edn follows Kock (NN §557) and ÍF 29.

Close

sik ‘himself’

sik (pron.; °gen. sín, dat. sér): (refl. pron.)

notes

[1, 4] hykkat vægð at vígi, ógnharðan spǫrðu sik ‘I do not believe there was mercy during the onslaught [or that] the battle-hard one [Eiríkr] spared himself’: (a) This sentence is awkward syntactically, because it presupposes two parallel constructions that are dependent on the verb hykkat ‘I do not believe’ (l. 1); namely vægð ‘mercy’ (with a suppressed vesa ‘be’) and ógnharðan spǫrðu sik ‘the battle-hard one spared himself’; spǫrðu is past inf. of spara ‘save’. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) takes jarl ‘the jarl’ (l. 3) as the object of hykkat and subject of spǫrðu (past inf. of spara ‘save’), and assigns ógnharðan to the second clause (ógnharðan jǫfur ‘the battle-hard prince). He construes the first clause as follows: Hykkat jarl spǫrðu sik vægð at vígi, translated as Jeg tror ikke jarlen sparede sig ved eftergivenhed under kampen ‘I do not believe that the jarl spared himself by letting up during the fight’. The problem is that this seems to assume that vægð is dat. sg. and is either to be construed with spara or as an adverbial dat., but both of these would be non-standard usages (cf. Fritzner: spara; NN §557). Moreover, Finnur’s interpretation results in tortuous syntax and a tripartite l. 3. The present edn follows Kock (NN §557) and ÍF 29.

Close

spardæ ‘’

Close

spǫrðu ‘spared’

2. spara (verb): spare, withhold

[4] spǫrðu: sparði 61, Bb, ‘spardæ’ 54

notes

[1, 4] hykkat vægð at vígi, ógnharðan spǫrðu sik ‘I do not believe there was mercy during the onslaught [or that] the battle-hard one [Eiríkr] spared himself’: (a) This sentence is awkward syntactically, because it presupposes two parallel constructions that are dependent on the verb hykkat ‘I do not believe’ (l. 1); namely vægð ‘mercy’ (with a suppressed vesa ‘be’) and ógnharðan spǫrðu sik ‘the battle-hard one spared himself’; spǫrðu is past inf. of spara ‘save’. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) takes jarl ‘the jarl’ (l. 3) as the object of hykkat and subject of spǫrðu (past inf. of spara ‘save’), and assigns ógnharðan to the second clause (ógnharðan jǫfur ‘the battle-hard prince). He construes the first clause as follows: Hykkat jarl spǫrðu sik vægð at vígi, translated as Jeg tror ikke jarlen sparede sig ved eftergivenhed under kampen ‘I do not believe that the jarl spared himself by letting up during the fight’. The problem is that this seems to assume that vægð is dat. sg. and is either to be construed with spara or as an adverbial dat., but both of these would be non-standard usages (cf. Fritzner: spara; NN §557). Moreover, Finnur’s interpretation results in tortuous syntax and a tripartite l. 3. The present edn follows Kock (NN §557) and ÍF 29.

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þás ‘when’

þás (conj.): when

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fjarð ‘of the fjord’

fjǫrðr (noun m.): fjord < fjarðmývill (noun m.)fjǫrðr (noun m.): fjord < fjarðmikill (adj.)fjǫrðr (noun m.): fjord < fjarðmýill (noun m.)fjǫrðr (noun m.): fjord < fjarðrefill (noun m.): fjord-tapestry

[5] fjarð‑: fjar‑ 54, Bb

kennings

trǫð fjarðmývils
‘the path of the fjord-lump ’
   = SEA

the fjord-lump → SKERRY
the path of the SKERRY → SEA

notes

[5] fjarðmývils ‘of the fjord-lump [SKERRY]’: As the many variants show (see Readings above), this word created problems for the scribes. It is taken here (as in NN §558 and ÍF 29) as a kenning for ‘skerry’, serving as a determinant for trǫð ‘path’ (l. 6), hence á trǫð fjarðmývils ‘onto the path of the fjord-lump [SKERRY > SEA]’. For the form mývill (< Proto-Nordic *mūwilaʀ), see AEW: mýll.

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fjarð ‘of the fjord’

fjǫrðr (noun m.): fjord < fjarðmývill (noun m.)fjǫrðr (noun m.): fjord < fjarðmikill (adj.)fjǫrðr (noun m.): fjord < fjarðmýill (noun m.)fjǫrðr (noun m.): fjord < fjarðrefill (noun m.): fjord-tapestry

[5] fjarð‑: fjar‑ 54, Bb

kennings

trǫð fjarðmývils
‘the path of the fjord-lump ’
   = SEA

the fjord-lump → SKERRY
the path of the SKERRY → SEA

notes

[5] fjarðmývils ‘of the fjord-lump [SKERRY]’: As the many variants show (see Readings above), this word created problems for the scribes. It is taken here (as in NN §558 and ÍF 29) as a kenning for ‘skerry’, serving as a determinant for trǫð ‘path’ (l. 6), hence á trǫð fjarðmývils ‘onto the path of the fjord-lump [SKERRY > SEA]’. For the form mývill (< Proto-Nordic *mūwilaʀ), see AEW: mýll.

Close

mýivls ‘’

Close

mývils ‘lump’

-mývill (noun m.): [lump] < fjarðmývill (noun m.)-mývill (noun m.): [lump] < fjármývill (noun m.)

[5] ‑mývils: so 61, 54, Flat, ‘‑mykils’ FskAˣ, ‑mýils Holm18, ‑refil 310, ‘‑myivls’ Bb

kennings

trǫð fjarðmývils
‘the path of the fjord-lump ’
   = SEA

the fjord-lump → SKERRY
the path of the SKERRY → SEA

notes

[5] fjarðmývils ‘of the fjord-lump [SKERRY]’: As the many variants show (see Readings above), this word created problems for the scribes. It is taken here (as in NN §558 and ÍF 29) as a kenning for ‘skerry’, serving as a determinant for trǫð ‘path’ (l. 6), hence á trǫð fjarðmývils ‘onto the path of the fjord-lump [SKERRY > SEA]’. For the form mývill (< Proto-Nordic *mūwilaʀ), see AEW: mýll.

Close

mývils ‘lump’

-mývill (noun m.): [lump] < fjarðmývill (noun m.)-mývill (noun m.): [lump] < fjármývill (noun m.)

[5] ‑mývils: so 61, 54, Flat, ‘‑mykils’ FskAˣ, ‑mýils Holm18, ‑refil 310, ‘‑myivls’ Bb

kennings

trǫð fjarðmývils
‘the path of the fjord-lump ’
   = SEA

the fjord-lump → SKERRY
the path of the SKERRY → SEA

notes

[5] fjarðmývils ‘of the fjord-lump [SKERRY]’: As the many variants show (see Readings above), this word created problems for the scribes. It is taken here (as in NN §558 and ÍF 29) as a kenning for ‘skerry’, serving as a determinant for trǫð ‘path’ (l. 6), hence á trǫð fjarðmývils ‘onto the path of the fjord-lump [SKERRY > SEA]’. For the form mývill (< Proto-Nordic *mūwilaʀ), see AEW: mýll.

Close

fœrðuð ‘you brought’

2. fœra (verb): bring

[5] fœrðuð: fœrðu 310, fórut Flat

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folkharðr ‘war-hard one’

folkharðr (adj.): [war-hard one]

[6] folkharðr: folkharðr ok Bb

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á ‘onto’

3. á (prep.): on, at

[6] á: at 54, Bb

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trǫð ‘the path’

trǫð (noun f.; °traðar; traðir): path

[6] trǫð: mið 61, við 54, Bb

kennings

trǫð fjarðmývils
‘the path of the fjord-lump ’
   = SEA

the fjord-lump → SKERRY
the path of the SKERRY → SEA
Close

Barða ‘Barði (‘Prow’)’

barð (noun n.): prow, stern (of a ship)

notes

[6] Barða ‘Barði (“Prow”)’: See Note to st. 3/5.

Close

Sifjar ‘of Sif’

2. Sif (noun f.): Sif

[7] Sifjar: sævar 310, 61, Bb, Flat, ‘sæfar’ 54

kennings

Sóti Sifjar
‘the Sóti of Sif ’
   = WOLF

the Sóti of Sif → WOLF

notes

[7] Sóti Sifjar ‘the Sóti <horse> of Sif <goddess> [WOLF]’: Sóti is the name of a horse (see Anon Þorgþ I 1/6III and Note there), and, since it is evidently the base-word of a kenning for ‘wolf’ here we should expect the determinant to be the name of, or a heiti for, a ‘troll-woman’ or ‘giantess’ (Meissner 124-5). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) accordingly adds the determinant fjarðmývils ‘of the fjord-lump [ROCK]’ (l. 5) and construes Sóti Sifjar fjarðmývils ‘the Sóti of the Sif of the fjord-lump [ROCK > GIANTESS > WOLF]’. While that interpretation yields a perfectly acceptable wolf-kenning, it results in an unprecedented tripartite Type C-line (l. 5) and leaves trǫð ‘path’ (l. 6) without a determinant. Kock (NN §558) adopts the variant sævar ‘of the sea’ (so 310, 61, Bb, Flat; 54 has ‘sæfar’) as a determinant in a ship-kenning. He translates Sóti sævar vas lítt svangr as mager var ej havets häst ‘the horse of the sea was not lean’ without further comment. It is not clear how a ship can be ‘not lean’ (or ‘not hungry’), and both FskAˣ and Holm18 have Sifjar, which must be regarded as the lectio difficilior. Not much is known about the goddess Sif, wife of Þórr (see ARG II, 124; Note to Þul Kvenna II 1/4III), but it is doubtful whether she was of giant lineage. According to Snorri (Gylf, SnE 2005, 5), Þórr met Sif in the northern hemisphere, and he adds that Engi kann at segja ætt Sifjar ‘Nobody knows the lineage of Sif’. Hence it could be that Halldórr nodded here or, alternatively, that he had other and different information about Sif (cf. his nickname ókristni ‘Un-Christian’).

Close

Sóti ‘the Sóti’

Sóti (noun m.; °-a): Sóti

[7] Sóti: sótta 61

kennings

Sóti Sifjar
‘the Sóti of Sif ’
   = WOLF

the Sóti of Sif → WOLF

notes

[7] Sóti Sifjar ‘the Sóti <horse> of Sif <goddess> [WOLF]’: Sóti is the name of a horse (see Anon Þorgþ I 1/6III and Note there), and, since it is evidently the base-word of a kenning for ‘wolf’ here we should expect the determinant to be the name of, or a heiti for, a ‘troll-woman’ or ‘giantess’ (Meissner 124-5). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) accordingly adds the determinant fjarðmývils ‘of the fjord-lump [ROCK]’ (l. 5) and construes Sóti Sifjar fjarðmývils ‘the Sóti of the Sif of the fjord-lump [ROCK > GIANTESS > WOLF]’. While that interpretation yields a perfectly acceptable wolf-kenning, it results in an unprecedented tripartite Type C-line (l. 5) and leaves trǫð ‘path’ (l. 6) without a determinant. Kock (NN §558) adopts the variant sævar ‘of the sea’ (so 310, 61, Bb, Flat; 54 has ‘sæfar’) as a determinant in a ship-kenning. He translates Sóti sævar vas lítt svangr as mager var ej havets häst ‘the horse of the sea was not lean’ without further comment. It is not clear how a ship can be ‘not lean’ (or ‘not hungry’), and both FskAˣ and Holm18 have Sifjar, which must be regarded as the lectio difficilior. Not much is known about the goddess Sif, wife of Þórr (see ARG II, 124; Note to Þul Kvenna II 1/4III), but it is doubtful whether she was of giant lineage. According to Snorri (Gylf, SnE 2005, 5), Þórr met Sif in the northern hemisphere, and he adds that Engi kann at segja ætt Sifjar ‘Nobody knows the lineage of Sif’. Hence it could be that Halldórr nodded here or, alternatively, that he had other and different information about Sif (cf. his nickname ókristni ‘Un-Christian’).

Close

við ‘against’

2. við (prep.): with, against

[8] við: so all others, viðr FskAˣ

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Orm ‘Ormr’

ormr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): serpent

[8] Orm inn: so 310, 61, 54, Bb, ‘ormin’ FskAˣ, Holm18, Flat

notes

[8] Orm inn langa ‘Ormr inn langi (“the Long Serpent”)’: See Note to st. 3/4.

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inn ‘inn’

2. inn (art.): the

[8] Orm inn: so 310, 61, 54, Bb, ‘ormin’ FskAˣ, Holm18, Flat

notes

[8] Orm inn langa ‘Ormr inn langi (“the Long Serpent”)’: See Note to st. 3/4.

Close

langa ‘langi (‘the Long Serpent’)’

langr (adj.; °compar. lengri, superl. lengstr): long

notes

[8] Orm inn langa ‘Ormr inn langi (“the Long Serpent”)’: See Note to st. 3/4.

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

In Fsk and ÓTOdd the stanza follows immediately after st. 4. In ÓT, it illustrates a second attack on Ormr inn langi. The army of Swedes and Danes shoots weapons at the ship, and then Eiríkr brings Barði alongside Ormr again and there is fierce fighting. Neither the jarl nor his men hold back during this battle.

The rhyme scheme in this stanza is unusual (fjǫrð- : jǫrð-, ‑harð- : ‑spǫrð- (ll. 3-4) and fjarð- : fœrð-, ‑harð- : Barð ‑ (ll. 5-6)). It is hardly accidental and resembles SnSt Ht 41III, 53III (liðhent ‘helping-rhymed’). — This stanza is not recorded in Hkr, and FskAˣ is the main ms. — [1]: This line recalls Þmáhl Máv 1/5V (Eb 3) Barkak vægð at vígi.

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