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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, 4. Sexstefja, 8 [Vol. 2, 120]

[4] skundaði haugs ‘of the impeller of the mound [GENEROUS RULER]’: Haugs is secured by the rhyme on augu, and evidently forms a kenning with dat. sg. skundaði. Its meaning in this context is elusive but it might stand for treasure, hence designating the referent as a generous distributor of treasure. Haugr often refers to burial mounds, potentially containing valuable grave-goods (the mound of the legendary king Hǫlgi alternated gold and silver layers with earth ones, SnE 1998, I, 60). Skundaðr, though unique (to judge from LP), clearly derives from skunda ‘hasten, impel’, and must be synonymous with skyndir, which forms kennings with terms for treasure such as GSúrs Lv 16/5V baugskyndir and Þmáhl Máv 11/5V menskyndir, both with variants. Kock (Skald; NN §488), following an unidentified ‘older edition’ (äldre upplaga), preferred to assume an imperfect aðalhending, and to read hauks (skundaði), presumably referring to an aristocrat as one who flies falcons or hawks. (Sveinbjörn Egilsson read haugs but translated accipitris ‘hawk’s’ in SnE 1848-87, I, 514-15). The identity of the referent of the kenning is a matter of speculation, but the simplest assumption is that this is the blinding of the same victim as in st. 7 (see Note to st. 7/1).


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