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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Gamli kanóki, 1. Harmsól, 52 [Vol. 7, 119-20]

[8] Bil ‘Bil <goddess>’: Kock (NN §1209) notes that previous eds have been reluctant to accept that Bil can stand alone as a half-kenning. There is, as he says, an undue concern for the plight of oklädda guddinor ‘naked goddesses’, that is, goddess names that are not qualified by a term for gold or treasure or some female attribute (cf. LP: Bil). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) attempts to provide such an attribute by emending gerði (l. 7) to gerðu, gen. sg. of gerða ‘feminine attire’, producing the woman-kenning Bil gerðu ‘goddess of clothing’. This necessitates the omission of þeim (l. 7). Rydberg (1907, lxxiv) approves Finnur’s emendation, and suggests that þá er could be substituted for the ms. reading here, taking the intercalated phrase to be þá er Bil gerðu treystisk guði ‘when the goddess of clothing trusted God’. As Kock (NN §§1209, 1072) suggests, this ‘prudery’ is a feature of Finnur’s edn: it is interesting to note that, of the four occurrences of gerða listed in LP, three appear in conjunction with a goddess-name, and two of those depend on emendation. There is no obvious reason why the ms. reading cannot be retained here, and Bil treated, as Kock (NN §1209) suggests, as a half-kenning for ‘woman’.

references

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