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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr ErfÓl 7I/5 — Hirðir ‘guardian’

Varð of Vinða myrði
vígský*s, en þat lýsik,
ramr und randar himni
rymr; knôttu spjǫr glymja.
Hirðir stózk við harðan
hnitvegg með fjǫl seggja
víðis veltireiðar
varghollr þrimu marga.

Rymr vígský*s varð ramr of myrði Vinða und himni randar, en lýsik þat; spjǫr knôttu glymja. Varghollr hirðir veltireiðar víðis stóðsk marga þrimu við harðan hnitvegg með fjǫl seggja.

Roaring of the war-cloud [SHIELD > BATTLE] became mighty around the murderer of Wends [?= Óláfr] under the heaven of the rim [SHIELD], and I proclaim that; spears resounded. The wolf-gracious guardian of the rolling wagon of the ocean [SHIP > SEAFARER] withstood many an onslaught by the hard clash-wall [SHIELD], with a multitude of men.


[5] Hirðir: hirðar all


[5] hirðir ‘guardian’: Corruption in all mss of an original hirðir (m. nom. sg.) to hirðar (nom. pl. of hirðir m., or gen. sg. of hirð f. ‘household troop’) is puzzling, but as the helmingr stands in the mss the sg. verb stózk við ‘withstood’ lacks a sg. subject and the adj. varghollr (m. nom. sg.) ‘wolf-gracious’ a noun. The emendation seems to have been first proposed by Guðbrandur Vigfússon and Möbius (1860, 208), and it is adopted by all subsequent eds (Sveinbjörn Egilsson’s attempt to retain hirðar in SHI 2 is unconvincing and he retreats from it in LP (1860): hirðir). A nom. subject must otherwise be sought (unconventionally) in the previous helmingr, or varghollr taken as a substantive. But further syntactical problems follow in the train of both these solutions (cf. SHI), and the emendation seems unavoidable.



case: nom.


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