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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 17. Þorvaldr Hjaltason, Lausavísur, 2 [Vol. 1, 273]

[7-8] gótt vas at henda her Hundings ‘it was good to catch Hundingr’s army’: Or, as Skj B has it, it was easy (let) to catch them. (a) Reading Hundings, these troops could be the vikings of l. 4 (so Kock, NN §380), though the identity of Hundingr is unknown, and it is even uncertain whether Hundingr is a pers. n. here or a heiti. A heiti is possible since Hundingr is a legendary king in the Nibelung legend and the word is among the heiti for sea-kings (Þul Sækonunga 3/3III). (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) emends hundings to hundmargs and her to hers, hence hundmargs hers ‘immense host’, cf. hundmargr herr in Hfr ErfÓl 5/1, 2. He further takes hundmargs hers, not with the rest of l. 7, but with the subject of the principal clause, hence þat eitt þeira hundmargs hers ‘only that part of their immense army’. As well as removing the shadowy Hundingr, this improves the semantic context for þat eitt ‘only that, only that part’ in l. 5, which might seem oddly dehumanised, but it is at the cost of two emendations, and a very contorted word order. For another context in which the readings hundmarg- and Hunding- are both possible, see Bjbp Jóms 22/4 and Note.

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