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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 50. Þorfinnr munnr, Lausavísur, 1 [Vol. 1, 845]

[1-4]: (a) The construal adopted here follows that of Kock (NN §781; Skald). It is slightly forced, especially in its reference to báðar benskeiðr ‘both wound-ships [SWORDS]’, since ‘ship’ as a base-word of a sword-kenning is unparalleled, and the reference to two swords corresponds to nothing in the legend of Sigurðr. ‘Both’ would make sense if referred to the two edges of a sword-blade, and Kock seems to imply that by referring to grammatically pl. terms for ‘sword’ such as þremjar ‘cutters’ (Þul Sverða 11/1III, and see Note; also LP: þremjar), but benskeiðr ‘wound-ships’ would seem more likely to denote whole swords. (b) The analysis by Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) is also problematic, however. He emends jarðar to jarðir in l. 2, and ben- to baugs- and s(k)eiðr to seiðs in l. 4. This gives munna seiðs grundar ‘jaws of the fish of the ground [SNAKE]’ and (báðar) jarðir baugs ‘(both) lands of the ring [ARMS]’, which fit well in context, but at the price not only of heavy emendation but also of a highly counter-intuitive word order, in which seiðs and jarðir are detached from their clauses.


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