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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 3. Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, 3. Lausavísa, 1 [Vol. 1, 117]

[1, 2] Hildr Hǫrngráts ‘the Hildr <valkyrie> of Hǫrn’s <= Freyja’s> weeping [GOLD > WOMAN]’: The name Hildr, forming the base-word of a woman-kenning, is certain in Hb, and the unnormalised ‘horn gratz’ is agreed on by two of the three witnesses, although only the first two letters of this proposed cpd are now legible in Hb. (a) If the cpd forms a gold-kenning, the uninflected proper name Hǫrn, rather than gen. sg. Hǫrnar, is unusual but not unparalleled (cf. HSt Rst 8/3 Þundregns ‘rain of Þundr <= Óðinn> [BATTLE]’), and this reading has been adopted by Skald (cf. NN §1025) and followed here. Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) keeps Hǫrn gráts as two words, but does not indicate how he construes them. (b) Another possible sense, reading horngráts ‘of the horn-weeping’, might be ‘drink’; cf. TorfE Lv 1/6 of kerstraumi ‘over the cup-stream’. Whichever sense is chosen, the cpd forms part of a woman-kenning. In (a) the reference is to the tears of gold Freyja is supposed to have wept as she searched the world for her husband Óðr (cf. SnE 2005, 29), in (b) to a woman’s conventional role as the pourer of ale or wine at feasts.


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