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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Sturla Þórðarson, 3. Hrafnsmál, 17 [Vol. 2, 741-2]

[5-8]: This helmingr is difficult to make sense of. The present edn mostly follows NN §1361. The ruler whose flattering opinion about his troops is misplaced is likely to be Alexander, king of the Scots. Alternatively it could refer to Hákon, since the Norw. troops were in trouble at this point. Skj B construes the half-st. as follows: herr drengja þengils, sás lof sæmði, dæmði dulgreypa drótt dal-Gauta drápi, translated as kongens mænds hær, han, hvem lovprisning hædrede, dömte den indbilske, grumme krigerskare til døden ‘the army of the king’s men, he, whom praise honoured, sentenced the conceited, cruel band of warriors to death’. In addition to the convoluted w. o., which is unprecedented in Hrafn, there is a violation of syntax because the finite verb in the main cl. (dæmði ‘sentenced’ (l. 8)) occurs further back than syntactic position 1 or 2. The F version of ll. 5-8 can be construed as follows: drótt drap ina dulmiklu drengja lofþengils, sá er dæmði dal-Gauta hersæmða ‘the retinue killed the highly conceited warriors of the praiseworthy ruler, he who deemed the bow-Gautar battle-famed’. Aside from the fact that this version has no support in the accompanying prose, l. 5 lacks internal rhyme.

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