Just a few more words on that half-stanza
from Ragnarsdrápa. I looked up 'fengr' and
'fengeyðandi' in Finnur Jónsson's Lexicon Poeticum
and it turned out like I had guessed. The word
'fengr' never appears to mean "victory" elsewhere.
Finnur's meaning is inferred from Snorri's
version of the tale of Hildr, Högni and Héðinn.
As for 'fyr hönd' this appears to be the only
time it occurs in the poetic corpus. Finnur translates
it 'on behalf of' in LP as well as in Skjaldedigtningen.
Nevertheless I find 'instead' in the popular version
I have at hand. Curious.
As for 'eyðandi' it is clearly the present participle
of 'eyða' which in turn is derived from 'auðr' - "waste,
empty". The verb 'eyða' can thus mean "make empty" or
"lay waste" but also "desert", "destroy" and even "spend"
The word 'fengr' is derived from 'fá' and thus basically
means "something caught", "catch", "gain", "acquisition"
or, as I suggested before, "booty".
I think "booty-squandering" would be a tempting translation
for 'fengeyðandi' if we didn't have any preconceived notions
on what the stanza should mean.
The same may be true with 'fyr hönd'. If we consider Snorri's
account it would make sense to say that Hildr ruled in the
island "instead of" Héðinn but if we only consider the stanza
itself I would go with the only meaning I know the phrase to
have, i.e. "on behalf of".
This is just a tiny glimpse into the difficulty of translating
poems like the Ragnarsdrápa. Should we go only by the preserved
words, ignoring external context and trying to be as literal
as possible - or should we try to find out what "makes sense"
and what correlates with other accounts of the same story?
There are pitfalls in both approaches. Trying to beat every
piece of poetry Snorri quotes into meaning exactly what he
thought it meant is an approach that has been found wanting
in the past.
On the other hand obstinately ignoring related evidence in
favor of going by one's "gut feeling" of a particular poem
can lead to flights of fancy far above what is probable.
So, in this case I have those two versions:
1. "It means what it seems to me to mean."
'And the booty-squandering witch of a woman ruled in the
island on behalf of the warrior.'
2. "It means what fits best with Snorri's account."
'And the victory-preventing witch of a woman ruled in the
island instead of the warrior.'
You can take your pick. I have no opinion on which is better.
And mind you, this is a _lucid_ half-stanza! :)