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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 12. Lausavísur, 13 [Vol. 1, 715]

[5-8]: (a) The overall analysis of clauses shown above is also that of most previous eds, including Skj B. However, it assumes a convoluted word order, and there is disagreement as to the status of sitt in l. 5 and sinn in l. 8. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 27; so also Hkr 1991) takes sinn to be a n. noun meaning ‘company, fellowship’, a usage that is unattested but supported by the sense of the closely related sinni. He would have this qualified by sitt, enabling him to interpret the first clause to mean ‘Everyone knows his company to be (i.e. has an assigned place) in Hell’. Jón Skaptason (1983, 198) approves this interpretation, but he suggests the meaning ‘lot’ for sitt, taking sinn with harra, as also in the present edn. Kock (NN §1119) earlier gave a similar interpretation, but he took sinn to mean ‘journey’ (with the same etymological problem), rendering the sense ‘Everyone knows that his wandering will be in (i.e. that he will go to) Hell’. (b) A further possibility is to read Hverr innan í svǫrtu helvíti veit sitt, ef selr hollan harra sinn við golli; vert es slíks ‘Everyone within black Hell understands his own circumstances, if he sells his gracious lord for gold; that is deserving of such’. The general sense is then ‘Everyone in Hell knows why he is there, i.e. what his sins have been’. Then vert in l. 7 agrees with sitt, giving the intercalary clause the sense ‘His circumstances/sins are worthy of such punishment’.


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