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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Gamli kanóki, 1. Harmsól, 1 [Vol. 7, 73-4]

[1-2] hár stillir hreggtjalda ‘high ruler of the storm-tents [SKY/HEAVEN > = GOD]’: The first in a series of kennings for God whose determinants contain circumlocutions for heaven involving hregg ‘storm, rain’, often with the adj. hár ‘high, exalted’. Cf., e.g., 5/5-6, 45/1-4 and 57/6-7. These kennings may be influenced by similar constructions in other Christian drápur, most notably Geisl, the text of which in Flat has jǫfurr hreggsalar ‘king of the storm-hall’ at 64/5-6, and Leið, which has three God-kennings with hreggrann ‘storm-house’ as the determinant (2/1-3, 17/1-2 and 25/5-6), the first two of which also contain hár. The relative complexity of the variations on the patterns in Has might indicate that the poem is somewhat later than, and influenced by, Leið (see Skard 1953, 101, 108 and the discussion of Skard’s analysis in Attwood 1996b, 236-7). That hregg- compounds were a particular favourite of Gamli’s is perhaps suggested by the appearance of jǫfurr hreggskríns ‘lord of the storm-shrine’ (so also in Anon Mgr 49/6) in his Jóndr 2/4.


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