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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Einarr Skúlason, 11. Lausavísur, 2 [Vol. 2, 569-70]

[5-6, 8] jǫfra heiðar galdrs hlíðrœkjanda ‘the cultivator of the slope of the chant of the chieftains of the heath [(lit. ‘slope-cultivator of the chant of the chieftains of the heath’) GIANTS > GOLD > WOMAN > MAN]’: The interpretation of this kenning was suggested by Kock (NN §962). Skj B construes it as follows: rœkjanda galdrs hlíð-jǫfra heiðar ‘the cultivator of the chant of the slope-chieftains of the heath’ i.e. ‘the cultivator of the chant of the giants’ (‘the cultivator of gold’). The problem with that interpretation is that the first element (hlíð- ‘slope-’) of the cpd hlíðrœkjanda ‘slope-cultivator’ must be a determinant for the base-word rœkjanda ‘cultivator’, and it cannot function as a determinant for jǫfra ‘chieftains’. Although Kock’s interpretation is the only possible one, it is not completely satisfactory, because, outside of Krákumál (Anon KrmVIII), men are not represented in kennings as ‘husband’ or ‘beloved’ (see Meissner 351). However, if we assume an agricultural/sexual sense here (see Note to Anon Nkt 8/1, 2), this objection disappears. The kenning ‘chant of the giant’ for ‘gold’ refers to the story about a giant’s wealth being measured in mouthfuls (see SnE 1998, I, 3).

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