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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 1. Víkingarvísur, 3 [Vol. 1, 537]

[5-6]: The detailed interpretation is problematic. (a) Here, it is assumed that leið is a heiti for ‘sea’ (cf. SnE 1998, I, 92, citing Anon (SnE) 11III; also SnSt Ht 34/3III) and is the subject of the sentence. Leysti ‘loosened, set loose’ with flota ‘fleet’ as its object is found as a variant in ESk IngdrII 4/6 (see Note), and with lábrostinn lögr ‘wave-bursting sea’ as its subject and flaust ‘ships’ as its object in Sturl Hrafn 15/5II, though in the latter there is an adverbial phrase to explain what the ships were loosened from. The use of ‘breakers’ in this sentence and brim- ‘surf’ in l. 8, though conventional diction, might suggest a turbulent sea which could have set the ships loose from their moorings. (b) Indeed, Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) takes as the subject of the sentence, and reads við austrleið ‘from the east coast’, though this is precluded by the syntax, since prep. við must modify , which follows it (cf. Kuhn 1983, 120-2 on the placing of prepositions). (c) Kock (NN §612) takes the king as the implied subject of the clause, but his interpretation requires an otherwise unknown word leiðvíkinga, in which he regards leið as equivalent to leiðangr, a seaborne expedition (cf. Note to Hár Lv 1/1-4). (d) Jón Helgason (1935-6, 263) preferred to take leið víkinga ‘path of vikings’ as a kenning for the sea. This would be an attractive solution, which avoids attaching the label víkingar to Óláfr’s troop (see Note to l. 6 below), but close parallels are lacking.

references

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