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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 19. Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa, 4 [Vol. 1, 345]

[5-8]: (a) Adopted in this edn is the interpretation of Reichardt (1928, 50-2), followed by Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 26), where liðs leiðar ‘the army of the fleet’ is treated as an attributive gen. depending on hætting ‘menace, danger’. Ms. meiðar is retained as a pl. form of meiðr ‘tree’, with the verb mætti (3rd pers. pret. subj.) ‘could’ correspondingly a pl. Kennings with this base-word are exceedingly common (cf. LP: meiðr). Other possibilities are as follows. (b) Liðs leiðar could be taken as governing skeiðar, hence ‘warships belonging to the levied army’ (so Fms 12; SHI 11; Jón Þorkelsson 1884, 56). (c) Liðs could be taken with hætting ‘menace for the army’ and leiðar as part of a kenning leiðar hjǫrmeiðir ‘destroyer of the sword-path [(lit. ‘sword-destroyer of the path’) SHIELD > WARRIOR]’ (so Finnur Jónsson 1886b, 333; cf. Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B). However, this entails preferring the reading of 39 and F, meiðir ‘destroyer’, and since hjǫrmeiðir ‘sword-destroyer’ is in itself a standard kenning for ‘warrior’ there is no necessity for kenning inversion and complex word order (as pointed out by Kock, NN §431; cf. Reichardt 1928, 51); Reichardt additionally noted that leið is not elsewhere attested in kennings for ‘shield’. (c) Kock (NN §431) opted for a cpd, with tmesis, of leiðar with skeið, equating this with leiðangrsskip ‘ship obtained through a levy’. He then linked liðs with the verb hrjóða, explaining this as ‘to clear of the army, empty of men’; this solution is rejected by Reichardt (1928, 52). 

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