Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bárðr Lv 1I/2 — hendit ‘handled’

Bárðr Lv 1I

Hugðak hitt, at hefðak
harðhendit þat stundum,
at skalpgrana skozkum
skyldak einn of halda.

Hugðak hitt, at hefðak harðhendit þat stundum, at skyldak einn of halda skozkum skalpgrana.

I would have thought that I’d manhandled such a thing [lit. that] at times, so that I ought to be able to hang on to a nimble sheath-mouth by myself.


[2] harðhendit þat stundum: ‘[…]’ 325VIII 2 a;    ‑hendit: ‘‑endit’ 53, ‑hendr Flat


[2] harðhendit ‘manhandled’: (a) This seems to be p. p. of a weak verb harðhenda (so also Skj B; LP: harðhendinn), which is otherwise unknown, though cf. the adj. harðhendr ‘strong-, hard-handed’, and verbs such as tvíhenda ‘to catch with two hands’, áhenda ‘to lay hands on, seize’. As Kock (NN §166) points out, the p. p. ending -it (n. nom. sg. of -hendinn) is characteristic of a strong, not a weak verb. The regular weak form would be harðhent (n. nom. sg. of -hendr), but this spoils both the syllable-count and the rhyme with stundum. Weak verbs of the henda type did not begin to form their participles in -inn before c. 1300 (Stefán Karlsson 2004, 27), so the stanza is probably later than the þáttr suggests. (b) Flat reads harðhendr verit ‘been hard-handed’ in place of harðhendit þat, with harðhendr as an adj. rather than a p. p. Skald prefers this more grammatically conventional variant but it is rejected here as it is the lectio facilior and only preserved in Flat.



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