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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bárðr Lv 1I/3 — grana ‘mouth’

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.

readings

[3] ‑grana: ‑granna Bb, ‘g[...]na’ 325VIII 2 a

notes

[3] skalpgrana ‘to a sheath-mouth’: Grani is otherwise unknown, except as the name of the hero Sigurðr’s horse, but may be from grǫn f. ‘moustache, lips’, here translated ‘mouth’. Skalp- here may be either of two words: (a) Skalpr m. ‘sheath (of a sword)’. The cpd Skalp-Grani appears in the C14th Króka-Refs saga as the name of a showy womanizer who is also referred to in coded word-play as Sverðhúss-Grani ‘Sword-house Grani’ (ÍF 14, 153, cf. 151 n. 2). The use elsewhere of sverð as a synonym for ‘penis’ (e.g. Grett Lv 33/1V (Gr 65)), suggests that sexual innuendo based on the ‘sheath’ meaning may be present in Króka-Refs saga (cf. Lat. vagina ‘sheath, scabbard’). In the present context, Þorvaldr is probably being likened to the receptive partner in anal intercourse in the usual níð fashion. (b) Previous eds (including the ed. of Króka-Refs saga in ÍF 14, cf. above) have preferred skalp n. ‘chatter’. Skalpgrani would then mean ‘chatterbox’ (NN §166) or even ‘boaster’ (Skj B; ÍF 9).

grammar

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