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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson (Hharð)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

2. Lausavísur (Lv) - 15

Skj info: Haraldr Sigurðarson harðráði, Norsk konge, 1046-66. (AI, 356-61, BI, 328-32).

Skj poems:
Lausavísur

See ‘Royal Biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.

Vol. II. Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: from c. 1035 to c. 1300 > 8. Introduction > 5. Biographies > 1. Royal Biographies > 1. Kings of Norway > g. Haraldr III harðráði Sigurðarson (Hharð) (r. 1046-66)

Sagas: ÓH, MH, HSig (Ágr, Flat, Fsk, H-Hr, Hkr, Mork, Theodoricus).

Haraldr harðráði ‘Hard-rule’ Sigurðarson was the son of Sigurðr sýr ‘Sow’ and Ásta Guðbrandsdóttir (see Genealogy II.2.f in ÍF 28). He fought alongside his half-brother, Óláfr Haraldsson (S. Óláfr), at the battle of Stiklestad (29 July 1030) and escaped wounded from the battlefield to seek refuge in Russia. After spending some years in the service of Jaroslav of Novgorod, he proceeded from Russia to Byzantium, where he served as a mercenary in the Varangian army before his return to Norway via Russia and Sweden in 1045/46. From 1046 he ruled jointly with his nephew, Magnús inn góði, and after Magnús’s death (25 October 1047) Haraldr was the sole ruler of Norway until he fell at the battle of Stamford Bridge (on 25 September 1066). See Anon Nkt 38-9, Theodoricus (MHN 50-1, 54-7; McDougall and McDougall 1998, 38-9, 43-46), Ágr (ÍF 29, 36-40; Ágr 1995, 52-9), Mork (Mork 1928-32, 55-281; Andersson and Gade 2000, 129-274), Fsk (ÍF 29, 227-90; Finlay 2004, 181-232), ÓHHkr (ÍF 27, 107-8, 347-8, 364; Hollander 1991, 314-15, 488-9, 500-1), HSigHkr (ÍF 28, 68-202; Hollander 1991, 577-663), Flat (Flat 1860-8, III, 287-432), H-Hr (Fms 6, 127-432). See also Hem (Hb 1892-6, 331-49; Fellows-Jensen 1962, 1-64), , Knýtl (ÍF 35, 132-3, 151; Hermann Pálsson and Edwards 1986, 46-7, 60), Orkn (ÍF 34, 53-4, 75-8, 80, 86-7, 339; Hermann Pálsson and Edwards 1987, 56-7, 71-4, 77-8).

Events documented in poetry: The battle of Stiklestad (1030) and Haraldr’s escape to Sweden (Hharð Gamv 1; Hharð Lv 1, 2a-2b; ÞjóðA Sex 1); his journey to Russia and his Russian campaigns 1031-3 (ÞjóðA Run 1, 3; Bǫlv Hardr 1); his journey to Constantinople and his campaigns as a mercenary in the Varangian army 1034-42 (Hharð Gamv 2, 4; Hharð Lv 10-11; Þjóð Sex 2-8; ÞjóðA Lv 4; Ill Har 2-4; Bǫlv Hardr 2-6; ÞSkegg Hardr; Valg Hardr 1-4; Þfisk Lv 2-3; Stúfr Stúfdr 2-3); his return to Russia and marriage to Ellisif (Stúfr Stúfdr 4); his journey to Sweden and his harrying in Denmark with Sveinn Úlfsson (ÞjóðA Sex 9; Valg Hardr 5-9); his meeting and reconciliation with Magnús inn góði (ÞjóðA Sex 10; ÞjóðA Frag 1; Bǫlv Hardr 7); his dealings with Magnús (Mgóð Lv 1; Hharð Lv 3); his return to Norway after Magnús’s death in Denmark in 1047 (Valg Hardr 10-11); his first naval campaign against Sveinn Úlfsson and the Danes in 1048 (Hharð Lv 4; ÞjóðA Lv 2; Bǫlv Hardr 8; Grani Har 1-2; Anon (HSig) 1); subsequent campaigns in Denmark against Sveinn (Hharð Lv 5, 10; ÞjóðA Lv 3-4; Arn Hardr 1; Þfagr Sveinn 2-9; Stúfr Stúfdr 5-6; Anon (HSig) 2, 5); the slaying of Einarr þambarskelfir and other enemies (Hharð Lv 6-8; Arn Hardr 1); the desertion of Norwegian magnates to Sveinn in Denmark (ÞjóðA Sex 12); the battle of the Nissan against Sveinn in 1062 (ÞjóðA Sex 13-18; ÞjóðA Har 1-7; Arn Hardr 2-4; Stúfr Stúfdr 7; Steinn Nizv; Steinn Úlffl); the peace treaty between Haraldr and Sveinn in 1064 (ÞjóðA Sex 23; Halli XI Fl); Haraldr’s campaign against Hákon Ívarsson (ÞjóðA Lv 9); his dealing with Norwegian insurrection (ÞjóðA Sex 19-22; Arn Hardr 5-6); the events leading up to the English campaign in 1066 (Hjǫrtr Lv 1-3; Úlfr Lv; Anon (HSig 6-9); the battles of Fulford and Stamford Bridge (Hharð Lv 13-14; ÞjóðA Lv 10-11; Arn Hardr 7-16; Stúfr Stúfdr 8; Steinn Óldr 1-3; Anon Harst). For þættir and smaller anecdotes involving Haraldr and other poets, see Haraldr Lv 9, 12; ÞjóðA Lv 4-8; SnH Lv; Þfisk Lv; Anon (HSig) 3-4.

Lausavísur — Hharð LvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson, Lausavísur’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 42-6.

 1   2a   2b   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14 

Skj: Haraldr Sigurðarson harðráði: Lausavísur (AI, 356-61, BI, 328-32); stanzas (if different): 2/1-4 | 2/5-8 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19

in texts: Flat, Fsk, H-Hr, Hb, , Hkr, HSig, MH, Mork, Orkn, ÓH, ÓHHkr, ÓHLeg, Skm, SnE, Snegl

SkP info: II, 42-6

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Þora munk þann arm verja,
— þats ekkju munr nekkvat —
— rjóðum vér af reiði
rǫnd — es í hlýtk standa.
Gengra greppr inn ungi
gunnblíðr, þars slǫg ríða,
— herða menn at morði
mót — á hæl fyr spjótum.
I shall dare to defend that rank in which I am placed; that seems to be the wish of the widow; let us redden the shield-rim with rage. The young poet shall not take to his heels, battle-cheered, before spears where weapons swing; men will intensify hostile encounters in the battle.
2a Réðk, en benjar blœða,
— búþegna sák megna
lið; fekk lindar váði
lífs grand — í bǫð standa.
I stood in battle, and the wounds bled; I saw farmers strengthen their host; the distress of the linden-shield [SWORD] dealt death.
2b Nú lætk skóg af skógi
skreiðask lítils heiðar;
hverr veit, nema verðak
víða frægr of síðir?
Now I’m slinking from wood to wood with little honour; who knows if I won’t become famous far and wide in the end?
3 Þegi þú, Þórir!
Þegn est ógegn;
heyrðak, at héti
Hvinngestr faðir þinn.
Be quiet, Þórir! You’re an unreliable man; I heard that your father was called Hvinngestr (‘Thief-guest’).
4 Lôtum vér, meðan lirlar
líneik veri sínum
Gerðr, í Goðnarfirði,
galdrs, akkeri halda.
We shall let the anchor hold [us] in Randersfjord while the linen-oak [WOMAN], the Gerðr <goddess> of incantation [WOMAN], lulls her husband to sleep.
5 Logit hefr Baldr at Baldri.Baldr has lied to Baldr.
6 Hér sék upp inn ǫrva
Einar, þanns kann skeina
þjalfa, þambarskelfi,
þangs, fjǫlmennan ganga.
Fullafli bíðr fyllar
(finnk opt at drífr minna)
hilmis stóls (á hæla
húskarla lið jarli).
Here I see the bold Einarr þambarskelfir (‘Paunch-shaker’ (?)), who knows how to furrow the enclosure of sea-weed [SEA], disembark with many men. The powerful one awaits the occupancy of the king’s throne; I often find that a lesser host of housecarls trails at the heels of a jarl.
7 Rjóðandi mun ráða
randabliks ór landi
oss, nema Einarr kyssi
øxar munn inn þunna.
The reddener of the rim-flash [SWORD > WARRIOR = Einarr] will expel us [me] from the land, unless Einarr kisses the thin mouth of the axe.
8 Nú emk ellifu allra
— eggjumk vígs — ok tveggja
— þau ’ro enn, svát mank, manna
morð — ráðbani orðinn.
Ginn en gráleik inna,
(golls) es ferr með skolli,
(lýtendr kveða lítit
lauki gæft til auka).
Now I have become the death-instigator of altogether eleven and two; I am stirred to strife; those slayings of men are such that I still remember. But deceits yield ill will, which is accompanied by trickery; spoilers of gold [MEN] say that the leek needs little to grow strong.
9 ‘Hvert stillir þú, Halli?’
‘Hleypk framm at skyrkaupi.’
‘Graut munt gørva láta?’
‘Gǫrr matr es þat — smjǫrvan.’
‘Where are you headed, Halli?’ ‘I’m hurrying ahead to buy curds.’ ‘You’ll probably want to make porridge?’ ‘Perfect food is that—buttered.’
10 Hjoggu harða dyggvir
hirðmenn Dani stirða;
sótti ferð á flótta
framm; en þat vas skǫmmu.
Hitt vas fyrr, es fjarri
fóstrlandi rauðk branda;
sverð í Serkja garði
sǫng; en þat vas lǫngu.
The most loyal retainers cut down relentless Danes; the troop rushed forth in flight; and that was recently. It was earlier when I reddened the blades far from my native land; the sword sang in the stronghold of the Saracens; but that was long ago.
11 Hlautk af hrauðung skjóta
hlýri, mær in skýra;
súð gekk feld á flœði
framm; vas þat fyr skǫmmu.
Enn fyr England sunnan
óð borð und mér norðan;
ristin skalf í rǫstum
rǫng; en þat vas lǫngu.
I got to push the prow away from the empty fleet, bright lady; the jointed ship went forth on the ocean; that was recently. And, south of England, the planking advanced beneath me from the north; the carved frame shook in the currents; but that was long ago.
12 Kennir kyrtil þenna?
Kú átt skjǫldungi gjalda,
ok alvaxinn oxa
átt skjǫldungi gjalda.
Bǫrn ok allt, þats árnar,
átt skjǫldungi gjalda;
svín ok aligás eina
átt skjǫldungi at gjalda.
Margar eru manna vélar:
mosa átt ok skjǫldungi at gjalda.
Do you recognise this tunic? You must yield a cow to the king, and a full-grown ox you must yield to the king. Your children and all that you acquire, you must yield to the king; a pig and one tame goose you must yield to the king. Many are the deceits of men: moss you must also yield to the king.
13 Framm gǫngum vér
í fylkingu
brynjulausir
und bláar eggjar.
Hjalmar skína;
— hefkat mína —
nú liggr skrúð várt
at skipum niðri.
We go forth in battle ranks, without byrnies, beneath dark sword-blades. Helmets shine—I don’t have mine—; now our armour lies down by the ships.
14 Krjúpum vér fyr vápna
(valteigs) brǫkun eigi
(svá bauð Hildr) at hjaldri
(haldorð) í bug skjaldar.
Hôtt bað mik, þars mœttusk,
menskorð bera forðum,
Hlakkar íss ok hausar,
hjalmstall í gný malma.
We [I] do not creep into the hollow of the shield in battle because of the crash of weapons; thus the faithful Hildr <valkyrie> of the falcon-field [ARM > WOMAN] commanded. The necklace-pole [WOMAN] told me earlier to hold the helmet-support [HEAD] high in the clamour of swords [BATTLE] where Hlǫkk’s <valkyrie’s> ice [SWORD] and skulls met.
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