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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 28. Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, 2. Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar, 6 [Vol. 1, 409]

[3] svarðar ‘of the scalp’: (a) This is a long-established emendation of ms. ‘suafdar’, already adopted in Árni Magnússon’s copy of this stanza in 761bˣ. It provides a conventional kenning for ‘head’, stofn svarðar ‘stump of the scalp’, cf. strǫnd svarðar ‘shore of the scalp’ RvHbreiðm Hl 32/8III, hjalmstofn ‘helmet-stump’ GSúrs Lv 34/8V(Gísl 37). It also supplies conventionally positioned hendingar, as the viðrhending (second part of an internal rhyme) is sverð-, the penultimate syllable in the line, rather than stofn, the third (see Kuhn 1983, 85). (b) ‘Suafdar’ in both mss is not readily explained. It could be the f. nom./acc. pl. of the p. p. of svefja ‘to lull to sleep’, or perhaps some other derivative of the root *seu- (AEW: svefn), referring to sleep, putting to sleep, or killing (cf. Note to Þul Óðins 4/3III on the Óðinn-name Sváfnir), but no solution along these lines fits the syntax, semantics and metre of the helmingr as preserved, and the emendation stands.

references

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