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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þhorn Harkv 15I/3 — ítr* ‘the excellent’

‘Hversu es fégjafall,         þeim es fold verja,
ítr* ógnflýtir         við íþróttarmenn sína?’

‘Hversu es fégjafall, þeim es verja fold, ítr* ógnflýtir við íþróttarmenn sína?’

‘How generous is [he] to those who guard [his] land, the excellent war-hastener [WARRIOR] to his men of skills?’


[3] ítr*: ítra all


[3] ítr* ‘excellent’: (a) Ms. ítra is here emended to ítr so that it may qualify ógnflýtir ‘war-hastener [WARRIOR]’, as suggested by Jón Helgason (1946, 137). (b) The syntax is decidedly strained when ms. ítra is construed as m. acc. pl. with íþróttarmenn ‘men of skills’ (l. 4; so Skj B) or as f. acc. sg. with fold ‘land’ (l. 2), especially in view of the simple syntax that characterises the rest of the stanzas. (c) Kock (FF §56) proposes analysing ítra as a substantival m. gen. pl. dependent on ógnflýtir ‘war-hastener’, together giving the sense ‘warrior of warriors’, i.e. best of warriors. Alternatively, Jón Helgason (1946, 137) mentions the possibility of interpreting ógnflýtir ítra as ‘causer of terror to chieftains’, ascribing to ógn- its fundamental sense ‘terror’ rather than the transferred sense ‘war’ that it usually has in verse. Yet these proposals face the difficulty that ítr is nowhere else used as a substantive, and both produce more than usually elliptical sense.




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