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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Gamli kanóki, 1. Harmsól, 11 [Vol. 7, 82-4]

[6-7] geymirunna grálinns undgjalfrs ‘protecting bushes of the grey serpent of the wound-surge [BLOOD > SWORD > WARRIORS]’: Konráð Gíslason and Eiríkur Jónsson (Nj 1875-8, II, 271) suggested emendation of B’s geymirunnum (dat. pl.) to geymirunna (acc. pl), which has been adopted by all subsequent eds. Geymirunnr ‘protecting bush’ occurs elsewhere only in poetry dated to C12th: it is used twice in HSt Rst 25/3 and 32/5I in the identical man-kennings geymirunnr gunnelds ‘protecting bush of the fire of battle’ and also in a poorly-preserved st. from RvHbreiðm Hl 5III, where it seems to provide the base-word of a man-kenning. It is interesting to note that the HSt Rst examples share the basic conceit of Gamli’s more elaborate kenning here. Undgjalfr ‘wound-surge’ is not attested elsewhere, but is conceptually related to undbára ‘wound-wave’ in Geisl 54/6.


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