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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Gamli kanóki, 1. Harmsól, 41 [Vol. 7, 108-9]

[2-3]: Kempff, Finnur Jónsson and Kock follow Sveinbjörn Egilsson in taking hvat bíðum (l. 3) as part of the same sentence as hætts ella mjök (l. 2). Finnur translates ellers er det meget uvist hvad vi opnår ‘otherwise what we will receive is most uncertain’ (Skj B). Jón Helgason (1935-6, 259) claims that there is no reason to believe that the two clauses are connected, and suggests that hætts ella mjök should be taken to mean ‘otherwise, there is [or will be] great danger’ while hvat bíðum is construed as a straightforward question ‘what are we waiting for?’ This makes for a more straightforward w.o. than does Sveinbjörn’s arrangement, and makes a strong connection between the helmingar. Besides, as st. 39 makes clear, the poet is unlikely to imply that the fate of those who fail to reconcile themselves with God is in any way uncertain!

references

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