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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 15. Glúmr Geirason, 2. Gráfeldardrápa, 2 [Vol. 1, 249]

[1-4]: No interpretation of the helmingr is without drawbacks. (a) This edn tentatively follows the interpretation of ÍF 26, which is based on points made by Kock (NN §1058). Kock notes parallels to góða fǫr Skáneyjar ‘a good voyage to Skåne’ such as Sigv ErfÓl 27/1-2 góðri fǫr Róms ‘the good journey to Rome’. He defends the use of bakki ‘bank’ as the determinant in a ship-kenning, though it refers to dry land rather than sea, citing parallels such as GunnlI Lv 6/3-4V (Gunnl 10) ǫndurr andness ‘ski of the headland’; unlike andnes, bakki is not usually a coastal feature, but see ONP: bakki 1.1, and cf. LP: marbakki, sjóvarbakki ‘sea-shore’; see also Note to Anon (Styrb) 2/4. Kock further construes fróðr til ferju as a phrase meaning ‘skilful in seafaring’, since til can be expected to govern the immediately following gen. sg. ferju. However, í, á or um rather than til is normally used with fróðr (Fritzner, ONP: fróðr) and although ferja is a heiti for ‘ship’ (Þul Skipa 4/6III), its use here is curious. Finnur Jónsson proposed the following three solutions, but all of them are problematic since they separate til and ferju, which are consecutive in l. 1. (b) In Hkr 1893-1901 Finnur emended bakka to bekkja ‘of streams’, with ferju as a free-standing dat. ‘by ship’. (c) In a note in Hkr 1893-1901, IV, however, Finnur expresses dissatisfaction with this usage of ferju, and adds the possibility of construing it within the phrase fróðr ferju ‘skilful in seafaring’; this is adopted in Hkr 1991. (d) In Skj B Finnur formulates the kenning blakkríðandi bakka ferju ‘rider of the steed of the bank of the ferry [(lit. ‘steed-rider of the bank of the ferry’) SEA > SHIP > SEAFARER]’.

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