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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 51. Þórarinn loftunga, 2. Tøgdrápa, 2 [Vol. 1, 854]

[2, 3] ǫrbeiðis svans sigrlana ‘of the eager demander of the swan of victory-heaps [CORPSES > RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR]’: The kenning is problematic, since beiðir normally means ‘demander, desirer’ and forms kennings with determinants denoting such concepts as treasure, weapons or battle (see Meissner 290), as in the recurrence of the line ǫrbeiðis fǫr at st. 4/8, with the meaning ‘journey of the arrow-demander [WARRIOR]’. Here the kenning can be analysed in at least two possible ways: (a) As above (so also ÍF 27; ÍF 29). The warrior demands or wishes for the birds of battle in that he intends to make carrion of his enemies. Kock (NN §1129B) adopts the same analysis but interprets -lana differently: see Note to l. 3. (b) Ǫrbeiðis lana sigr-svans ‘of the eager demander of the heaps of the victory-swan [RAVEN/EAGLE > CORPSES > WARRIOR]’ (so LP: 1. ǫrbeiðir, sigrlǫn; ÓHLeg 1982); this unnecessarily assumes the kenning to be inverted. Skj B’s preference is unclear. (c) Meissner 122-3, 290 proposes instead to emend beiðir to beitir, with a suggested meaning ‘one who makes bite, feeder’.


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