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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Mágj Lv 1VIII (Mág 1)/7 — deigir ‘men soft’

Ek hefi vísendi         víst í brjósti
meiri miklu,         en menn vita.
Sé ek, hvar húkir         hirð á bekkjum,
hjartadeigir,         ef herja skal.

Ek hefi víst miklu meiri vísendi í brjósti, en menn vita. Ek sé, hvar hirð húkir á bekkjum, hjartadeigir, ef skal herja.

I have certainly much more knowledge in my breast than people know. I see where the retinue cowers on the benches, men soft of heart, if there should be any fighting.


[7] ‑deigir: deig 590aˣ, 58ˣ, papp25ˣ


[7] hjartadeigir ‘men soft of heart’: Considered, with Skj B and Skald, as a cpd adj. used substantivally, the second element of which is deigr lit. ‘kneadable, doughy’, and by extension ‘soft, damp, cowardly’. The cpd implies cowardice on the part of the hirð ‘retinue’, mentioned in l. 6. The m. nom. pl. adj. ‑deigir in 152 does not agree with hirð, and must be assumed to be in apposition to it, meaning ‘men soft of heart’, whereas the other mss read deig, agreeing with hirð f. nom. sg. That reading is unmetrical, however.



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