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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þstf Stuttdr 6II/4 — kviksettra ‘holy ones’

Þstf Stuttdr 6II

Varðir, Hǫrða
hvatr fylkir, at
grǫf góðra lof*
geti kviksettra.
Á skínn æva
Yggs fjǫldyggra
sól svangœli,
siklingr, an þik.

Hvatr fylkir Hǫrða, varðir, at grǫf góðra kviksettra geti lof*. Sól skínn æva á fjǫldyggra Yggs svangœli an þik, siklingr.

Swift ruler of the Hǫrðar [NORWEGIAN KING = Sigurðr], may you ensure that the grave of the good holy ones obtains glory. The sun will never shine upon a more virtuous pleaser of Yggr’s <= Óðinn’s> swan [(lit. ‘Yggr’s swan-pleaser’) RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR] than you, lord.

readings

[4] kviksettra: ‘kviksattar’ H, ‘quiksættar’ Hr

notes

[4] kviksettra ‘holy ones’: Lit. ‘those buried alive’. Fritzner: kyksettr glosses this as hellig efter Døden ‘holy after death’. The adj. is also found in Þloft Glækv 3/7I, where it is used about S. Óláfr. In ÍF 27, 406-7 n., Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson explains the word as referring to the fact that Óláfr’s hair and nails reportedly continued to grow after he was dead and buried. In Sv, Sverrir Sigurðarson also uses the substantivised adj. in one of his speeches in the meaning ‘holy ones’ (see ÍF 30, 62 and n. 5). The prose texts offer no information about which ‘holy ones’ (saints, relics) Sigurðr bestowed gifts upon, but it could be that he visited the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. — [4] geti ... kviksettra ‘obtain ... of the holy ones’: The H variant (skulut kviksattar ‘shall not [be] buried alive’) lacks both alliteration and internal rhyme, and the Hr reading (glaðr kviksættar ‘cheerful “quiksættar”’) lacks internal rhyme. The stem vowel in -settra (m. gen. pl.) is an -e-: kviksettr ‘holy one’ from setja ‘place’ (see ANG §513.2 and Note to l. 4 below). Because the metre of Stuttdr is in general very regular (with some internal rhymes and double alliterations lacking in the odd ll.), the first word in l. 4 must be a monosyllabic or a short-stemmed disyllabic word beginning with g- and containing the stem -et- or -ett-. Skj B suggests (at) grǫf golli lofs | glaðr kviksettra ‘[you gave] gold (to) the grave of holy ones, cheerful of glory’ (ll. 3-4), which still leaves l. 4 without internal rhyme. Kock (NN §965; Skald) emends ll. 3-4 to (at) grǫf golli lofs | glætt kviksæti ‘(at) the grave [you covered] the shining relics with gold of praise’. That reading presupposes a suppressed verb and an unattested word, kviksæti ‘relics’. In the present edn, at ‘that’ (l. 2) is taken as a conj. rather than as a prep., and skulut (3rd pers. pl. pres. indic.) ‘shall not’ (so H; glaðr m. nom. sg. ‘cheerful’; Hr) has been emended to geti (3rd pers. sg. pres. subj.) ‘obtain’.

grammar

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