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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 18. Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, 2. Vellekla, 23 [Vol. 1, 311]

[1-4]: Many suggestions have been made for the interpretation of this helmingr, which consists of two main clauses. (a) The construal above is the most straightforward, and is adopted in ÍF 26 and Hkr 1991. A difficulty here is that síðan ‘then’ (l. 2) would seem to imply that having created mannfall ‘slaughter’, Hákon readied himself for a further battle, although only two (in the north of Sunnmøre and in Sogneforden) are recounted in the prose sources and Ragnfrøðr is said to have fled from Norway after the battle in Sogn (Hkr, ÍF 26, 247; Fsk, ÍF 29, 115), leaving Hákon in control. Possibly the meaning is that Hákon was always ready for battle, or conceivably that the gramr ‘ruler’ is Ragnfrøðr, who was preparing for more strife (cf. Note to ll. 5-8). (b) It is perhaps in order to obviate this difficulty that most interpreters construe the first clause as Gramr varð fyr Vinða myrði við annan styr ‘The ruler encountered the killer of the Wends in a second battle’. En and síðan (l. 2) are then construed with the second clause: en síðan gerðisk mest víðfrægt mannfall at morði ‘and then an immense, widely renowned slaughter arose in battle’ (Fms 12; Vell 1865, 60; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 149-50; Skj B). This produces a better narrative sequence but assumes extreme fragmentation in l. 2: víðfrægt, en, gramr, síðan.

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