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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ótt Knútdr 4I/3 — húss ‘of the house’

Brunnu byggðir manna,
buðlungr, fyr þér ungum;
opt lézt húss of heiptir
herkall búendr gerva.

Buðlungr, byggðir manna brunnu fyr ungum þér; opt lézt búendr gerva herkall of heiptir húss.

King, settlements of people burned before you in your youth; often you caused the residents to make a war-cry on account of the destroyer of the house [FIRE].


[3] húss of: hús ok all


[3] of heiptir húss ‘on account of the destroyer of the house [FIRE]’: Emendation seems necessary in this line, and no solution is entirely satisfactory. (a) The proposal of Kock (NN §734; Skald, and followed by ÍF 35) is adopted here, namely to emend hús ok to húss of, thus creating a fire-kenning with heiptir (f. acc. pl.) ‘destroyer’, lit. ‘hatreds, hostilities’ (cf. Meissner 100-1), with of as a causal prep. ‘on account of’. Such an emendation creates a parallelism between the two couplets in this helmingr. (b) Skj B and Knýtl 1919-25 emend heiptir to heiptar (hence herkall heiptar ‘a war-cry of destruction’), but retain ms. ok, taking hús ok with byggðir manna in l. 1, hence ‘people’s settlements and houses’. However, herkall heiptar seems somewhat pleonastic, and such syntax seems strained, and out of keeping with Óttarr’s practice in the rest of this poem, where he tends to favour end-stopped two-line clauses.




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