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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Halldórr ókristni (Hókr)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Eiríksflokkr (Eirfl) - 8

Skj info: Haldórr ókristni, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 202-204, BI, 193-195).

Skj poems:
Eiríksflokkr

Nothing is known about Halldórr ókristni ‘the Un-Christian’ (Hókr) aside from the fact that, according to Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 257, 266, 280), he was one of Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson’s poets. His nickname indicates that he must have been reluctant to convert to Christianity, and it is not surprising that he is connected with the court of the jarls of Hlaðir (Lade), given that Eiríkr’s father, Hákon jarl Sigurðarson, was the last heathen ruler of Norway. The eight stanzas below are what remain of Halldórr’s poetic oeuvre, and they show that he was well versed in myth and heroic legend and, in particular, that he was familiar with the poetry of earlier and contemporary skalds. In Skj, Finnur Jónsson gives his ethnicity as Icelandic, but that cannot be ascertained.

Eiríksflokkr (‘Flokkr about Eiríkr’) — Hókr EirflI

Kari Ellen Gade 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Halldórr ókristni, Eiríksflokkr’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 469.

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Skj: Haldórr ókristni: Eiríksflokkr, o. 1010 (AI, 202-4, BI, 193-5)

in texts: Flat, Fsk, Hkr, ÓT, ÓTC, ÓTOdd

SkP info: I, 469

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Út bauð jǫfra hneitir
élmóðr af Svíþjóðu
— sunnr helt gramr til gunnar —
gunnbliks liði miklu.
Hverr vildi þá haulda
hrægeitunga feitir
— môr fekk á sæ sára
sylg — Eireki fylgja.
The striker of princes [RULER = Eiríkr], eager for the storm of the battle-gleam [(lit. ‘storm-eager of battle-gleam’) SWORD > BATTLE] summoned a large troop from Sweden; the ruler steered south to battle. Every fattener of carrion-birds [RAVENS/EAGLES > WARRIOR] among freeholders then wished to accompany Eiríkr; the seagull of wounds [RAVEN/EAGLE] got a drink at sea.
2 Eyna fór ok einu
(unnviggs) konungr sunnan
(sverð rauð mætr at morði
meiðr) sjau tøgum skeiða,
þás húnlagar hreina
hafði jarl of krafða
— sætt gekk seggja ættar
sundr — Skônunga fundar.
The king of the Eynir [NORWEGIAN KING = Óláfr] went from the south with seventy-one warships — the splendid tree of the wave-steed [SHIP > SEAFARER] reddened the sword at the battle —, when the jarl [Eiríkr] had summoned the reindeer of the mast-top-liquid [SEA > SHIPS] to a meeting with the Skánungar; the peace of the kin of men was sundered.
3 Fjǫrð kom heldr í harða
— hnitu reyr saman dreyra;
tungl skôrusk þá tingla
tangar — Ormr inn langi,
þás borðmikinn Barða
brynflagðs Reginn lagði
— jarl vann hjalms at holmi
hríð — við Fáfnis síðu.
Last year Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’) underwent a rather harsh [trial] — reeds of gore [SWORDS] crashed together; moons of the tongs of prow-boards [SHIELDS] were cut then —, when the Reginn <dwarf> of the byrnie-troll-woman [AXE > WARRIOR = Eiríkr] brought the high-sided Barði (‘Prow’) alongside Fáfnir; the jarl fought a storm of the helmet [BATTLE] near the island.
4 Gerðisk snarpra sverða
— slitu drengir frið lengi,
þars gollin spjǫr gullu —
gangr of Orm inn langa.
Dolgs kvôðu framm fylgja
fráns leggbita hônum
sœnska menn at sennu
sunnr ok danska runna.
A tumult of sharp swords took place on Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’); warriors demolished the peace for a long time where golden spears resounded. They said that Swedish men and Danish bushes of battle [WARRIORS] followed him [Eiríkr] forward in the south at the flyting of the glittering leg-biter [SWORD > BATTLE].
5 Hykkat vægð at vígi,
— vann drótt jǫfur sóttan;
fjǫrð komsk jarl at jǫrðu —
ógnharðan sik spǫrðu,
þás fjarðmývils fœrðuð,
folkharðr, á trǫð Barða
— lítt vas Sifjar Sóti
svangr — við Orm inn langa.
I do not believe there was mercy during the onslaught [or that] the battle-hard one [Eiríkr] spared himself — the retinue attacked the prince; last year, the jarl obtained the land — when, war-hard one, you brought Barði (‘Prow’) onto the path of the fjord-lump [SKERRY > SEA] against Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’); the Sóti <horse> of Sif <goddess> [WOLF] was hardly hungry.
6 Hét á heiptarnýta
hugreifr — með Ôleifi
aptr stǫkk þjóð of þoptur —
þengill sína drengi,
þás hafvita hǫfðu
hallands of gram snjallan
— varð fyr Vinða myrði
vápneiðr — lokit skeiðum.
The glad-hearted ruler [Eiríkr] called on his battle-worthy warriors — men sprang aft across the rowing-benches with Óláfr —, when they had enclosed the warships of the diminisher of the ocean-beacon [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN = Eiríkr] around the valiant lord [Óláfr]; a weapon-oath [BATTLE] took place before the murderer of Wends [= Eiríkr].
7 Drógusk vítt at vígi
Vinða skeiðr, ok ginðu
Þriðja hauðrs á þjóðir
þunn gǫlkn éarnmunnum.
Gnýr varð á sæ sverða;
sleit ǫrn Gera beitu;
dýrr vá drengja stjóri;
drótt kom mǫrg á flótta.
The warships of Wends came from afar to the fight, and slender monsters of the land of Þriði <= Óðinn> [SHIELD > AXES] yawned with iron-mouths at people. There was a din of swords [BATTLE] at sea; an eagle tore the food of Geri <wolf> [CORPSES]; the worthy leader of warriors [RULER = Eiríkr] fought; many a company took to flight.
8 Hjalmfaldinn bar hilmi
hrings at miklu þingi
— skeiðr glæstu þá þjóðir —
þangat Ormr inn langi.
En sunnr at gný Gunnar
glaðr tók jarl við Naðri;
áðr varð egg at hrjóða
ættgóðr Hemings bróðir.
Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’) carried the helmet-clad ruler [Óláfr] there to the mighty assembly of the sword [BATTLE]; troops then adorned the ships. But the cheerful jarl received Naðr (‘Adder’) south at the din of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLE]; earlier the high-born brother of Hemingr [= Eiríkr] had to redden the blade.
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