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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Anonymous Lausavísur, 2. Lausavísur from Haralds saga Sigurðarsonar, 6 [Vol. 2, 819-20]

[7, 8] af haukum stafns stillis ‘from the hawks of the leader’s prow’: I.e. from the champions of the leader’s prow, from the leader’s forecastle-men (stafnbúar). Haukr ‘hawk’ was a term for a brave young man (see LP: 1. haukr 2 and Anon (MErl) l. 7) Skj B takes it as a base-word in a kenning for ‘ship’ (so also ÍF 28), which is also possible: af stillis haukum stafns ‘from the leader’s hawks of the prow’, i.e. ‘from the leader’s ships’. The variant in Hb and E, af stóði stafns Gjúka ‘from the stud-horses of the prow of Gjúki <sea-king>’, is hyperdetermined (stóð Gjúka ‘stud-horses of Gjúki’ and stóð stafns ‘stud-horses of the prow’ both mean ‘ship’) and is of little help.


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