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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Hjǫrtr, Lausavísur, 1 [Vol. 2, 344-6]

[6] laf-Hamðir ‘(“Slouch-Hamðir”)’: The meaning of this epithet is not immediately transparent, but it must be a derogatory term either for Haraldr (so Hb 1892-6, 331 n. a) or for Tostig (so LP: laf-Hamðir). Laf- is derived from the verb lafa ‘hang, dangle, slouch’ (see lafhræddr ‘terror-stricken’ in Lv 3/6 below), and Hamðir is a legendary hero (see Ghv; Hamð). Skj B suggests the translation den bukkeskæggede(?) ‘the one with a goat-beard(?)’, and in Hb (1892-6) Finnur proposes tentatively that the word could be a scribal error for lofðungr ‘ruler’. That is unlikely because of the internal rhyme (-af- : -af-). In the present edn, the epithet is taken to refer to Haraldr (see the discussion of hafa ‘get’ (l. 6 below)). In keeping with the adj. lafhræddr in Lv 3/6, it may refer to his lack of initiative. For Tostig’s mission to Haraldr’s court, see Gade 2004.


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