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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 19. Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa, 9 [Vol. 1, 353]

[All]: The Óðinn-heiti Hroptr can be taken alone or as part of a kenning, yielding a statement in ll. 1-2 that either Óðinn or a warrior gains slain men. Unfortunately the matter cannot be finally resolved. (a) In the Text presented above, Hroptr ‘Óðinn’ (l. 1) and hjaldrskýja ‘of battle-clouds [SHIELDS]’ (l. 2) are construed together, since they are the first nominal elements in the helmingr and form a warrior-kenning of an extremely prolific type (cf. Meissner 260-3, 275-6). Although a statement that Óðinn, rather than a warrior, receives the slain might have been expected, the rest of this helmingr is human in focus, and in st. 11 it seems that Hákon is portrayed as assisting Óðinn in procuring the slain. Hroptr hjaldrskýja is also taken as a kenning in Fms 12, though there the kenning includes linds and is construed as the subject to hrauð ‘cleared’ in l. 1. Line 3 is interpreted in this edn as a syntactic unit, with emendation of ms. ‘lindz’, normalised linds, to lind ‘(linden-)shield’ (as by Kock; see below). (b) Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 349; cf. Skj B; Reichardt 1928, 205-6) emends ‘lindz’ to lundr ‘grove, tree’, hence lundr hjaldrskýja ‘tree of battle-clouds [SHIELDS > WARRIOR]’, which he takes as the subject of hrauð ‘cleared’. Hroptr is unqualified in l. 2 and the subject of náði ‘gained’, so that it is Óðinn who receives the slain. However, Finnur’s analysis assumes a complex word order with a tripartite l. 3. (c) Kock (NN §436, cf. §805A and similarly Reichardt 1928, 205), objecting to the complexity, emends lightly to lind ‘(linden) shield’. The resulting l. 3, which matches that of this edn, reads þar vas lind fyr landi, which Kock renders här fanns sköld till landets värn ‘here was found a shield for defence of the land’. Kock (NN §1911C anm.) identifies analogues to this in ÞKolb Eirdr 2/7, Ótt Knútdr 1/7-8 and Þfagr Sveinn 3/1-2II, which do lend support, although in each of them the context is more explanatory, the action described being slightly more decisive than in the present case. Kock, like Finnur Jónsson, believes that the god Óðinn is the subject of náði, but at the same time reads Hroptr hjaldrskýja as ‘Óðinn of shields’, i.e. Óðinn, whereas this appears best analysed as a warrior-kenning.

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