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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, 1. Magnússflokkr, 12 [Vol. 2, 78-80]

[5] þverrði ‘reduced’: Given the dissent among the mss here there is a difficult choice between this and þurði ‘rushed on’. (a) Adopting þverrði ‘reduced’ has the advantage of following gerðum/gerði ‘we brought it about / it came about’ with more of an achievement: the reduction of the enemy army, rather than merely advancing (þurði ‘rushed’), and þverrði ‘reduced’ contrasts neatly with óx ‘increased’. In the interpretation above þverrði is impersonal, but one could alternatively read þengill þverrði lið húskarla jarli, en fengi óx; herr nam at hrjóða skeiðr ‘the prince reduced the jarl’s troop of housecarls, and booty increased; the army started to clear the warships’. The reading þverrði is adopted by most modern eds, except that Hkr 1991 reads þurði but with a similar sense to þverrði: jarli þurði (þraut) húskarla lið ‘the jarl’s (Sveinn’s) troop of housecarls rushed (gave out)’. (b) The variant þurði ‘rushed on’ would yield: Gerðum þar, svát þengill þurði ‘We brought it about there that the prince rushed on’, but a statement implying that the king needed his troops to urge him on is very unlikely in a skaldic encomium.

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