Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Sigv Lv 14I

[All]: The word (or words) dróttinrækt has clearly presented problems to scribes and eds alike, and there are several interpretations. (a) An otherwise unattested adj. dróttinrækr ‘lord-rejecting’ is assumed here, comparable with hjarðrækr ‘herd-driving, able to drive a herd’, and qualifying kaup ‘bargain’. (b) Rœkt could alternatively be taken as n. adj. ‘rejected, abominable, abhorrent’, used adverbially, and acc. sg. dróttin ‘lord’ construed as object of belldu ‘dealt with’; this approach is essentially that of Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 27, followed by Jón Skaptason 1983, 199 and Hkr 1991). However, bella normally takes a dat. object or a construction with við. (c) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) reads dróttinrœkð (though this has no ms. support), which he takes to mean ‘fidelity to one’s lord’. This he construes with the initial clause, and he takes the overall meaning to be ‘The reward for fidelity to their lord grew sad in heaven, since those who dealt in treason sought the deep-lying world of high-flaming fire’. (d) For acc. heim ‘world’ in l. 3, Kock (NN §2218D) reads ‘instrumental’ heimi (a reading unsupported by the mss). He would also read dróttinrétt (NN §2262), interpreted to mean ‘power’, giving the overall meaning ‘The exchange grew sad where they who practised treason against the world from out of heaven went to the high flame’s deep power’. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson takes the helmingr to refer to the Fall of the rebellious angels, as do the eds of Hkr 1991, who also equate dróttin with God.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  5. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  6. Jón Skaptason. 1983. ‘Material for an Edition and Translation of the Poems of Sigvat Þórðarson, skáld’. Ph.D. thesis. State University of New York at Stony Brook. DAI 44: 3681A.


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