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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Kolbeinn Tumason (biog. vol. 4), Jónsvísur, 5 [Vol. 7, 226-7]

[6-7] hárs: The ms. reading is ‘háʀ er’. The reading ‘háʀ’ could be normalised to hárr ‘hoary, grey-haired’ (m. nom. sg.) or to hár ‘high’ (m. nom. sg.; <ʀ> appears in mss as a grapheme for [rr] or for [r], cf. Lindblad 1954, 73, 206-7). Since the adj. is part of an honorific term for S. John, all previous interpreters take ‘háʀ’ to be hár ‘high’. The reading er is evidently the predicate in the main cl., the 3rd pers. sg. indic. of vera ‘to be’. Since hár er produces a seven-syllable l., Skj B normalises to hárs. Kock (NN §2165) argues that it is implausible that John should be spoken of in the 3rd pers. in a sentence containing a subordinate cl. which addresses him in the 2nd pers. pl. (yðra dýrð ‘your glory’ 5/8) and in a st. whose first helmingr also addresses him in the 2nd pers. (þér ‘to you’ 5/2). He therefore emends the verb form to est/ert ‘you are’ (cf. the translation in Lange 1958b, 19). He indicates that the problem of the seven-syllable l. could be solved by the omission of the prep. á, which is not required by the syntax of the construction á hvern veg ‘in every way’.


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