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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 13. Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, 3. Lausavísur, 4 [Vol. 1, 219]

[7, 8] njótr hranna ‘user of the waves [SWIMMER = Eyvindr skreyja]’: Another kenning that has caused difficulty. (a) In this edn it is interpreted literally, since the poet may be alluding to the event described in Egill Lv 10V (Eg 15), where Eyvindr skreyja, worsted in battle, leaps from his ship to swim to safety. (Ranna in all Fsk mss would be a Norw. form of hranna.) Given the likelihood that Hákon had conducted a previous naval campaign in Danish waters (Schreiner 1927-9e, 526; Bagge 2004, 189-90), some familiarity with Eyvindr skreyja on the part of the king’s Norwegian supporters would not be surprising. For the poet’s aspersions on the other Danish military leader at Fitjar, see Note to Lv 5/2. For a possible parallel to (or echo of) this kenning, see Note to Bjbp Jóms 13/6, and Poole (1988, 176). (b) For Finnur Jónsson’s interpretations, see Note to l. 5, søkkspennir. (c) Reichardt (1928, 33, cf. NN §1057A; ÍF 26; ÍF 29; Hkr 1991) treated njótr hranna as a kenning for ‘seafarer, steerer of the ship’, taking it as a vocative with imp. halt(u) ‘keep’. But hranna needs to be complemented with a base-word equivalent in function to ‘timber’ or ‘horse’ if it is to yield a standard ship-kenning.

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