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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ólhelg Lv 2I/1 — landi ‘a land’

Bǫls, þats lind í landi
landrifs fyr ver handan
golli merkð við galla
grjótǫlnis skal fǫlna.
Þann myndak við vilja
valklifs, meðan lifðak,
— alin erumk bjǫrk at bǫlvi
bands — algrœnan standa.

Bǫls, þats lind landrifs, merkð golli, skal fǫlna í landi fyr handan ver við galla grjótǫlnis. Myndak vilja þann við valklifs standa algrœnan, meðan lifðak; bjǫrk bands erumk alin at bǫlvi.

It is a misery that the linden-tree of the land-rib [STONE (steinn ‘jewel’) > WOMAN = Steinvǫr], distinguished with gold, must grow pale in a land across the sea with the affliction of the stone-mackerel [SNAKE > WINTER]. I would wish that tree of the falcon-cliff [ARM > WOMAN] to stand fully green as long as I lived; the birch of the headband [WOMAN] is born to bring me misery.


[1] í landi ‘in a land’: The idea of the beloved now being in another man’s land is emphasised by the echo in landrifs (l. 2), and cf. Note to Lv 8/7-8. — [1, 2] lind landrifs ‘the linden-tree of the land-rib [STONE (steinn ‘jewel’) > WOMAN = Steinvǫr]’: The kenning assumed here (as by Kock in NN §595) has many parallels, using either the word steinn ‘stone’ or other terms for ‘stone’ (Meissner 414-15), including (Lofn) landrifs in Bjarni Frag 5/3III. Such kennings appear to work by ofljóst, since ON steinn can also mean a jewel, gem-stone or stone in a necklace (LP: steinn 2), and terms for jewels are common as determinants of woman-kennings. Meanwhile, the idea of ‘stone’ in landrifs ‘land-rib’ is continued by the word grjót- ‘stone’ in l. 4, and cf. Note to Lv 4/7. For Finnur Jónsson’s analysis of the kenning, see Note to ll. 3, 4.



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