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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Heilags anda drápa, 5 [Vol. 7, 455-6]

[1-4]: Previous eds have had difficulty in interpreting rennir (l. 3). Sveinbjörn Egilsson (LP (1860): renna) takes it to be 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of renna ‘to run’. He construes frǫmuðr regns hátunnu ranns rennir vǫldum hǫlda her hugar skóg, faldit nógu aldini, and translates ornator cæli conserit hominem pectora, velata copioso semine ‘the adorner of heaven binds the hearts [lit. breasts] of men, producing a lot of seed’. This is unsatisfactory, since consero ‘to tie, join’ is not a close translation of renna, and skógr ‘forest’ (l. 2) is m. and cannot agree with faldit (l. 4), which Sveinbjörn takes to be adjectival, without emendation. Rydberg (1907, 45 n. 3) proposes that it is ‘natural’ to take the 3rd pers. sg. pres. form rennir and the p.p. faldit together as a periphrastic phrase, presumably identical in meaning with falda. He offers the examples of vinna in Has 51/7 (þótt menn vinni misgert ‘even though men had comitted sins’) and Anon Gyð 2/4, 8 (vann sier aflað frægðar ‘earned fame for himself’), and orka in Leið 29/3-4 (sterkr er engr svát orki aptrat dróttins krapti ‘no one is so strong as to be able to impede the Lord’s power’). As Kock (NN §2142) points out, the first two examples are not exact parallels, since vinna often functions as an auxiliary in certain constructions. Rydberg offers no evidence for the use of renna in parallel expressions elsewhere, and Fritzner: renna has no examples of such usage. Finnur Jónsson, who is followed by Kock, takes rennir to be a m. noun, base-word of a God-kenning rennir ranns hátunu regns ‘impeller of the house of the high-barrel of rain’. He emends B’s ‘fraumudr’ (l. 2) to framiðr, m. nom. sg. adj. ‘outstanding’, which qualifies the God-kenning. This edn agrees with Finnur in taking rennir as a m. sg. nom. noun, meaning ‘one who makes something run, a spurrer-on, impeller’, but adopts a normalized form of B’s ‘fraumudr’, frömuðr, m. ‘promoter, furtherer’ being construed with hölda (l. 1) to form a kenning for God or the Holy Spirit, frömuðr hölda ‘promoter of men’, which is in apposition to rennir ranns hátunu regns; cf. frömuðr ástar ‘promoter of love’ 1/3.

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