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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 24. Þorleifr jarlsskáld Rauðfeldarson, 4. Lausavísur, 6 [Vol. 1, 377]

[4] refilstíga ‘on secret paths’: This is taken here as acc. pl. used adverbially (so also Kock, NN §426). The sense ‘secret paths’ fits the context here and that in Gylf (SnE 2005, 7-8), where Gylfi arrives at the hall of the gods, incognito (as he thinks) and saying that he has come af refilstígum ‘from the trackless ways/secret paths’ (so Faulkes, SnE 2005, 132). The etymology and exact meaning of this rare cpd are unclear. In ModIcel. it means ‘wrong track’. De Vries (AEW: refill 3) associates refilstígar with the sea-king name Refill, which in turn is linked to refr m. ‘fox’. Janzén (1945, 187) suggests the refil- element is related to a Norw. dialect word meaning ‘tumble off’, whereas according to ÍO: refil- it is refill m. ‘strip’. Poole (2005b, 110) suggests ‘entrenched path, path along a shallow dip in the terrain’; he cites in support the word blóðrefill, which refers to the groove running the length of a sword-blade.


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