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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Lv 9I l. 5

Opt — often


opt (adv.): often



[5, 7] môl endask opt ‘meals often come to an end’: Môl is probably to be taken as a pun, since it may mean ‘meals’ (in reference to the nuts), ‘tales’ (the one Sigvatr is telling), and ‘matters, affairs’, especially legal affairs (in reference to the dividing of the supposed inheritance). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) hesitatingly takes the meaning to be ‘words are often fulfilled, come true’, and if this is the sense, Sigvatr may be chiding Óláfr for the miserliness of the ‘inheritance’ (or gifts) he provides his poets. That is, ‘as we should divide an inheritance’ may turn out to be an actual case of poor reward, not merely a comparison. But endask, though it may mean ‘to turn out’, is not otherwise attested in the sense ‘come true’. Kock (NN §2010) construes opt with bað ‘asked, told’ (l. 5) in the main clause, where it makes no obvious sense (whereas in the intercalary clause it may have a universalizing, satirically gnomic function), and this in turn obliges him to ignore en ‘and, but’ in l. 5, which he takes as enn in NN §2010D, dismissing it as not needing translation. The purpose of these rearrangements is to allow him to interpret endask môl to mean ‘the poem comes to an end’, parallel to endisk leyfð ‘the praise ends’ and lýkk vísu nú ‘I close my verse now’ in Lv 6/7-8. Jón Skaptason (1983, 192) translates, ‘Disputes often drag on (?)’.



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