The Authorial Version of the E-Verse iren(n)a cyst in Beowulf
The half-line īrena/īrenna cyst, an E-verse in Beowulf, causes problems because īrena is prosodically too weak in the second syllable, but metrically correct īrenna is morphologically difficult to account for. Since there is good reason for assuming that the word for ‘iron’ was īsern at an early stage of Old English it may be suggested that, in the course of the textual history of Beowulf, īsern tended to be replaced by īren. In all its occurrences in Beowulf, īren can be replaced by īsern without harm to the metre. It is therefore thinkable that the authorial version of the formulaic E-verse was īserna cyst.
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