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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þloft Tøgdr 3I/3 —  ‘of Hå’

Ok fyr Lista
liðu framm viðir
dýrs of haf
hart kolsvartir.
Byggt vas innan
allt brimgaltar
suðr sæskíðum
sund Eikunda.

Ok fyr Lista liðu kolsvartir viðir hart framm of haf dýrs. Innan brimgaltar vas allt Eikundasund suðr byggt sæskíðum.

And off Lista the coal-black ships travelled hard forwards over the sea of Hådyret. On the landward side of the surf-boar [SHIP] the entire Eigersund to the south was inhabited by sea-skis [SHIPS].


[3] Há‑: haf‑ Holm2, 68, 325V, 325XI 2 g, DG8, FskAˣ, hrann‑ Bæb, haf corrected from ‘há’ 325VII, hag Flat, Tóm


[3] Hádýrs ‘of Hådyret’: It is clear from the range of ms. readings that the name caused problems for many scribes. (a) Hádýr is identified here with modern Hådyret, the name of a mountain to the east of Eigersund, Rogaland (so also ÍF 27 and ÍF 29, following Birkeland and Olsen 1913). This gives good sense for the helmingr and is in keeping with the precision over place names which characterises this journey-poem. There are two further possibilities. (b) The cpd could be construed as a ship-kenning hádýr ‘rowlock-animal’ (also found in Refr Frag 5/2III, though there it seems to have an extra determinant, hranna ‘of waves’). This is assumed by Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901, IV, who takes hádýrs to qualify viðir, hence ‘the timbers of the rowlock-animal’. This also gives good sense, and the single ship identified would presumably be the same as the king’s ship in l. 6. (c) In Skj B Finnur Jónsson adopts instead the reading hafgjalfrs from several mss (as does Skald), to create a different kenning, viðir hafgjalfrs ‘timbers of the sea-roar [SHIPS]’; in the process this creates samhending ‘identical rhyme’ on haf within the line, a practice not found elsewhere in the poem.



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