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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Leiðarvísan, 9 [Vol. 7, 147-9]

[5-8]: These ll. are difficult to construe, largely because of the uncertain status of the kenning in ll. 5-6. Readings that attempt to construct a man-kenning here involve considerable emendation. On the other hand, failure to emend results in what appears to be a battle-kenning flugraddar fleins ‘flight-voices of the arrow’, which does not make sense in context and does not agree with fœddir (m. nom. pl.) ‘born’. It is possible that –raddar (l. 5) is a corruption of some agent noun designating men or warriors. Here it is assumed to form the base-word of a kenning for warriors by emending -raddar to -greddar ‘feeders, nourishers’, following a suggestion of Kari Ellen Gade. In ll. 5-6 B reads ‘þui eru flugraddar fędder fleins med ymsum meinum’. Sveinbjörn Egilsson (notes preserved in 444ˣ and 1844, 59) suggested normalisation of ‘fędder’ to fœddir, m. nom. pl. of the participial adj. formed from fœða ‘to give birth to, be born, be brought up’, taken with B’s pl. verb eru (l. 5). He is followed by Skj B and this edn. Sveinbjörn and Skj B also emend l. 8 to bág lundar ferr stundum, constructing a man-kenning lundar fleins flugraddar ‘groves of the arrow’s flight-voice’ [BATTLE > WARRIORS]. The helmingr is then construed því eru fleins flugraddar lundar fœddir með ymsum meinum; bæði bǫrn ok móðir ferr stundum bág ‘therefore the groves of the arrow’s flight-voice are born with various defects; both children and the mother sometimes suffer difficulty’. Kock (NN §1260 and Skald), followed by Attwood 1996a, emend B’s ‘fędder’ to fœðir ‘feeder’, which requires only minor additional emendation to the sg. es ‘is’ in l. 5. This produces a warrior-kenning, fœðir fluggraddar fleins ‘feeder of the flight-voice of the arrow’ and a statement that he, presumably representing mankind, has various pains. The sg. usage here is rather curious, however, if the poet is alluding to human imperfections in general. In NN §2557 (and Skald), Kock introduces a further emendation to flughríðar fœðir ‘feeder of the flight-storm’, claiming that raddar is a garbled form of ríðar, i.e. hríðar. Although flugrǫdd ‘flight-voice’ is not attested elsewhere, battle-kennings on the model ‘weapon + rǫdd’ are very common in the skaldic corpus (see LP: rǫdd), though it is worth noting that LP does not list another cpd using an abstract concept such as flug instead of the word for ‘weapon’.


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