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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl)

13th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

2. Hákonarkviða (Hákkv) - 42

Skj info: Sturla Þórðarson, Islandsk skjald og historiker, 1214-84 (AII, 101-29, BII, 112-36).

Skj poems:
1. Þverárvísur
2. Þorgilsdrápa
3. Hrynhenda
4. Hákonarkviða
5. Hrafnsmál
6. Hákonarflokkr
7. En drape om Magnús lagaböter
8. Lausavísur

The life of Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl) is chronicled in Sturlunga saga (Stu). He was born on 29 July 1214 as the second son of Þórðr Sturluson and his concubine Þóra, and he was the younger brother of Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson (Ólhv). In his early years he spent much time with his uncle, the poet, historian and lawspeaker Snorri Sturluson (SnSt, d. 1241), and later he took an active part in the events that played out before and after the collapse of the Icel. Commonwealth. Sturla was lawspeaker in Iceland 1251-2 and lawman, appointed by the Norw. king, 1272-82. In 1263 he went to Norway where he met King Magnús lagabœtir ‘Law-mender’ Hákonarson (d. 1280). After an initially very cool reception, the king commissioned him to write the saga of Magnús’s father Hákon Hákonarson (d. 1264) and also that of Magnús himself. Sturla later became the retainer (hirðmaðr, skutilsveinn) of Magnús and brought the law code Járnsíða ‘Ironside’ from Norway to Iceland in 1271. The story of Sturla’s journey to Norway in 1263 and his dealings with Magnús is recounted in Sturlu þáttr (StÞ), preserved in a version of Stu. In addition to the sagas of Hákon Hákonarson (Hák) and the no longer extant saga of his son Magnús lagabœtir (only two leaves are preserved in AM 325 X 4°), Sturla is the author of Íslendinga saga (Ísls) and of a redaction of Landnámabók (Ldn, in AM 107 folˣ = Stˣ). Some scholars believe that he may have been responsible for the extant redaction of Kristni saga (Kristni) (see LH 1894-1901, II, 98-105, 717-43), and he is also mentioned as an informant by the author of Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar (Gr; see ÍF 7, 157, 226, 289). Like his uncle, Snorri, and his brother, Óláfr, Sturla was a prolific poet. According to Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 256, 260, 272, 279, 384-96), he composed poems in honour of the Norw. kings Hákon Hákonarson and Magnús lagabœtir Hákonarson, and also about the Swed. jarl Birgir Magnússon (d. 1266). Nothing is preserved of Sturla’s panegyrics to the latter, but two sts from his poetry to Magnús are recorded in Hák (see Magnússdrápa (Sturl Magndr) below). The bulk of Sturla’s poetic oeuvre about Hákon Hákonarson is interspersed with the prose in Hák: Hrynhenda (Sturl Hryn), Hákonarkviða (Sturl Hákkv), Hrafnsmál (Sturl Hrafn) and Hákonarflokkr (Sturl Hákfl). In addition to these encomia, Sturla composed poetry about events and dignitaries in Iceland: namely Þverárvísur (Sturl ÞvervIV) and Þorgilsdrápa (Sturl ÞorgdrIV), both of which have been edited in SkP IV. That is also the case with his lvv. (Sturl Lv 1-4IV). One fragment which earlier eds assigned to Hryn (earlier st. 22) has been edited in SkP III as Sturl FragIII. Sturla died on 30 July 1284 and was buried in the Church of S. Peter at Staðarhóll.

Hákonarkviða — Sturl HákkvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Sturla Þórðarson, Hákonarkviða’ 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. 699-727.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38 

for reference only:  5x   9x   10x   25x 

Skj: Sturla Þórðarson: 4. Hákonarkviða, 1263-64 (AII, 108-19, BII, 118-26); stanzas (if different): 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10-11 | 11 | 12-13 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28-9 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42

in texts: Flat, Hák

SkP info: II, 699-727

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Þá hefr í ætt
öðlingr drepit
Tryggva niðs
tírarhöfði,
er framráðs
flýja þurfti
ynglings barn
fyr ófriði.
Then the prince [Hákon] pushed his famous head into the family of the kinsman of Tryggvi [= Óláfr Tryggvason], when the child of the ambitious king [= Hákon] was forced to flee on account of unrest.
2 En lofðungs
leita fóru
á Upplönd
átta sveitir
Bagla liðs
búnar rómu,
ef fólkvörð
finna mætti.
And eight units of the force of the Baglar, ready for fight, went to Opplandene to hunt for the prince, [to see] if they could find the guardian of the people.
3 Hafði Kristr
of konungsefni
huliðshjálm
heilli góðu,
þá er allvalds
ór ófriði
frægðarson
fagnandi kom.
Christ placed a helmet of concealment over the royal heir, by good fortune, when the famous son of the mighty ruler emerged rejoicing from unrest.
4 Bar tállaust
tvennan blóma
aldinviðr
einu sumri,
ok ókalt
útifuglar
öndvert ár
urpu tysvar,
þá er allvaldr
við jöfursnafni
tírargjarn
of tekit hafði,
ok hans gipt
hæstrar tíðar
vegilát
vaxa náði.
The fruit tree blossomed twice without deceit in one summer, and wild birds laid eggs twice during the warm beginning of the year, when the fame-eager mighty ruler had received the royal title, and his splendid good fortune could increase at the most opportune time.
5 Sá hverr maðr,
at höfuðskepnur
fylkis tígn
fagna vildu
göfugláts
gjálfri kringðum
á vindkers
víðum botni.
Every man saw that the chief elements wished to welcome the dignity of the splendid ruler on the wide bottom of the wind-vessel [SKY/HEAVEN > EARTH], encircled by the surge.
6 Lögðu til
lítlu síðar
öðlings menn
Ósló bæjar,
ok þar stökk
fyr stálhvötuð
á glapstíg
Grýtlinga lið.
A little later the lord’s men set out for the town of Oslo, and there the force of the Grýtlingar [= the Ribbungar] fled on a pernicious path before the sword-inciter [WARRIOR = Hákon].
7 Vara landráð
lítlu goldit
við allvald
austan markar,
þá er lofðungr
leystan hafði
elris gram
eski mettan.
The treason against the mighty ruler was not repaid in small measure east of the forest, when the lord had sated the released dog of the alder [FIRE] with ash-wood.
8 Svalg hvert hús
heitum munni
viðar hundr
Verma bygðar,
ok svipkárr
selju rakki
of garðshlið
grenjandi fór.
The hound of the forest [FIRE] swallowed every house of the settlement of the Vermir with its hot mouth, and the violent dog of the willow [FIRE] ran howling through the yard-gate.
9 Þat er skröklaust,
at Skúli var
frægðarmaðr
í frömu lífi,
þótt hvarbrigð
á hann sneri
aldar gipt
auðnu hvéli,
þá er ofrausn
öfgu heilli
randa rjóðr
reisa knátti,
ok ólágt
jöfra bági
öðlings nafn
á Eyrum tók.
It is not a lie that Skúli was a famous man in his outstanding life, although the fickle luck of mankind turned the wheel of fortune on him, when the reddener of shield-rims [WARRIOR = Skúli] raised an excess of heroism with adverse luck, and the enemy of princes [= Skúli] took the not insignificant title of king at Øra.
10 Stóð ófriðr
af afarmenni
innanlands
öllu fólki,
þá er ynglingr
austr á Láku
sverða seið
of samit hafði,
ok vígálfr
vaxanda lét
úlfa ár
ok ara ferðar.
Valði vetr
til vápnþrimu
of vígskátt
vísa ríki.
Unrest came from the proud man to all people within the country, when the chieftain had caused a chant of swords [BATTLE] east at Låke, and the battle-elf [WARRIOR = Skúli] made the prosperity of the wolves and of the company of eagles increase. He chose the winter for weapon-clash [BATTLE] throughout the war-worn realm of the ruler.
11 Lagði rösk,
en risu laukar,
hilmis hirð
hendr at reipum,
en húnskriptr
hreggi blásnar
fylkis ferð
til frama greiddu.
The daring retinue of the ruler put their hands on the ropes, and the masts rose up, and the storm-swept decorated cloth [SAIL] of the mast-top made the journey of the sovereign a success.
12 Ok ófár
austr með landi
snekkju brandr
svífa knátti
gulli glæstr
und göfugmenni;
varat auðligr
allvalds floti.
And not a few prows of warships rocked beneath the nobleman east along the coast, adorned with gold; the fleet of the mighty ruler was not paltry.
13 Skriðu hafraukn
und höfuðsmanni
inn í botn
Óslófjarðar,
þar er vegstór
fyr vígliði
Skúla öld
of skipaz hafði.
The ocean’s draught-animals [SHIPS] glided beneath the leader into the head of Oslofjorden where Skúli’s men, great in honour, had arrayed themselves against the battle-host.
14 Gekk allvaldr
und ýg*shjálmi
meginmildr
merkjum fyrri,
en gullsett
gnæfa knáttu
vísa vé
of valafólki.
The tremendously generous mighty ruler advanced under the helmet of terror ahead of the standards, and the gold-embroidered banners of the leader towered above the select troop.
15 Enn þar framm
fylgja knátti
ræsis hirð
rómu stýri
hildarfús
á hliðar báðar
í gagnför
greypra vápna.
And the fight-eager retinue of the ruler followed the controller of battle [WARRIOR = Hákon] forwards there on both sides in the meeting of terrible weapons [BATTLE].
16 Ok inndrótt
elda kyndi
böðvar-Týs
við baug*renni,
svát eggfárs
eisur stukku
of ilflet
Aurnis spjalla.
And the retinue kindled the fires of the battle-Týr <god> [= Óðinn > SPEARS] against the ring-advancer [GENEROUS MAN = Skúli], so that the flames of blade-wrath [BATTLE > SPEARS] rushed over the floors of the footsole of Aurnir’s <giant’s> confidant [(lit. ‘footsole-floors of Aurnir’s confidant’) GIANT > SHIELDS].
17 Flugu hræleiptr
at hjarar leiki
geigurlig
á Gauts himin,
en randálfr
rífandi fór
böðvar ský
blóðs eldingum.
The frightful corpse-lightnings [SPEARS] flew onto the sky of Gautr <= Óðinn> [SHIELD] in the play of the sword [BATTLE], and the shield-elf [WARRIOR] advanced tearing the cloud of battle [SHIELD] with flashes of blood [SPEARS].
18 Var laushendr
lofða stýrir
á blóðorms
beinu skapti
en haldsamr
at hjarar leiki
á geir-Týs
grænni málu.
The controller of men [RULER = Hákon] was openhanded with the straight shaft of the blood-snake [SPEAR] but tight-fisted in the play of the sword [BATTLE] on the green wife of the spear-Týr <god> [= Óðinn > = Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’)].
19 Þar baugsegl
í brimis vindi
branda byrr
blása knátti,
en hrælögr
af hjarar borðum
geigurligr
glymjandi fell.
There the fair breeze of swords [BATTLE] blew at shield-boss sails [SHIELDS] in the wind of the sword [BATTLE], and the frightful corpse-sea [BLOOD] fell foaming from the planks of the sword [SHIELDS].
20 Reið blóðlaukr
á berum knerri
örvar áss
járni slunginn,
en gandreið
grænna skjalda
Svölnis vegg
sleit á lopti.
The blood-mast [SWORD], encircled by iron, swung onto the bare ship of the god of the arrow [= Ullr > SHIELD], and the riding troll-women of green shields [AXES] tore the wall of Svǫlnir <= Óðinn> [SHIELD] in the air.
21 Ok þar felt
feigum hausi
Gjallar mans
greypri hendi
Fenris nipt
fylkis dólga
í hjörgöll
heiptar blóði.
And there Fenrir’s <mythical wolf’s> sister [= Hel] hooded the doomed heads of the leader’s enemies with the blood of hatred by the gruesome hand of Gjǫll’s <river in hell’s> girl [= Hel] in the sword-din [BATTLE].
22 Þar sighljóð
syngja knáttu
harða hvell
hvössum munni
í herför
of höfuð manna
Högna mans
hlýrna dísir
There the dísir <minor female deities> of the sun and moon of Hǫgni’s <legendary hero’s> girl [= Hildr (hildr ‘battle’) > SHIELDS > VALKYRIES] sang very shrill battle-songs with a sharp mouth around the heads of men in the army-campaign.
23 En nafnfrægt
nøkkvi síðar
í náreið
á Niðarbakka
við leygför
leggja knátti
rausnarlíf
ríkr hertogi.
And a little later, the powerful duke placed his renowned, splendid body on the bier on the banks of Nidelven because of the raging of fire.
24 Ok þar gekk
á Gjallarbrú
ræsis mágr
fyr riðusóttum
bauga bliks,
er boðar fellu
elda vers
of afarmenni.
And there the in-law of the ruler stepped on Gjallarbrú because of the fevers of the gleam of shield-bosses [SWORD] when the offerers of the fires of the ocean [GOLD > GENEROUS MEN] fell around the proud man.
25 Sú kom gipt
af guðs syni
yfir Hákon
heilli góðu,
er allvald
öflgrar kristni
fyrirmaðr
til friðar vígði,
ok geðstórr
á grams höfuð
konungligt
kórónu lét
kappsnúinn
karðináli
í Björgyn
at boði páfa.
That luck came by good fortune upon Hákon from the son of God [= Christ], when the leading man of powerful Christianity [= William] consecrated the mighty ruler for peace, and the proud, vigorous cardinal placed the crown on the royal head of the prince in Bergen at the Pope’s bidding.
26 Enn sú rausn
ríða knátti
Hörða grams
með himinskautum,
hvé völsungr
veita knátti
sæmðardag
sinnar vígslu.
And that splendour of the lord of the Hǫrðar [NORWEGIAN KING = Hákon] spread along the corners of heaven, how the king entertained on the glorious day of his consecration.
27 Né allvaldr
einu ranni
frægðarfólk
fleira valði
austr né vestr
at ölskipan
und hreinvers
hvítu ræfri.
Never did a mighty ruler select more splendid people to one hall for ale-drinking east or west under the white roof of the reindeer-sea [EARTH > SKY/HEAVEN].
28 Þar gullker
geiga knáttu
inni full
unna greipum,
en inndrótt
allra stríða
heilivágr
til hjarta fell.
Inside there full gold-goblets swung, caressed the hands, and the soothing balm of all torments [WINE/ALE] penetrated the hearts of the retinue.
29 Skaut vínfars
vísa mönnum
á gómsker
gyltu borði,
hilmis hirð
en hunangsbára
í geðknörr
glymjandi fell.
The gilded rim of the wine-vessel [CUP] thrust against the gum-skerries [TEETH] of the leader’s men, and the honey-wave [MEAD] fell foaming into the mind-ship [BREAST] of the ruler’s retinue.
30 Ok þar sat
seggja dróttinn
gulli grimmr
á gjafstóli.
Þá hverr maðr
af hringskata,
þat er yrþjóð
æskja kunni.
And there the lord of men [KING = Hákon], fierce towards gold, sat on the gift-chair. Each man received from the ring-generous one that which mankind could wish for.
31 Þar rann upp
allri þjóðu
mundar dagr
á mergs himin.
Skein armsól
jöfra stýris
vísa ferð
of vala grundir.
There the daylight of the hand [GOLD] dawned on the heaven of marrow [ARM] for all men. The arm-sun [GOLD] of the controller of princes [KING] shone above the lands of falcons [ARMS] of the leader’s company.
32 Þar sjóðmjöll
svífa knátti
bauga brjóts
af boga fjöllum
harða hrein
hári þjóðu
of gaglfárs
geigurandra.
There the very pure purse-flour [SILVER] drifted from the bow’s mountains [ARMS] of the breaker of rings [GENEROUS MAN] across the swinging skis of the gosling-danger [HAWK > ARMS] of noble people.
33 Ok hafleyg
hauka ferjur
herðimenn
hlaðnar fluttu
dáðum rakks
ok digulsköflum
af allvalds
óskafundi.
And brave men brought ferries of hawks [ARMS], loaded with ocean-flame [GOLD] and crucible snowdrifts [SILVER], away from the merry meeting with the mighty ruler, bold in his deeds.
34 Mjök er þat frægt,
er fara vildi
sigri sæmðr
til Svía fundar
grundar vörðr
góðu heilli
á Randvers
remmiskíðum.
It is widely known that the guardian of the land [KING], honoured by victory, wished to travel by good fortune to the meeting with the Swedes on the strong skis of Randverr <sea-king> [SHIPS].
35 Var leiðangr,
sem logi væri,
gulli glæstr,
of grams flota,
þar er baugtungl
blíkja knáttu
yfir háreið
hvert við annat.
The naval force, adorned with gold, was as if there were a flame above the fleet of the ruler where the shield-boss moons [SHIELDS] each shone against the other above the oarlock.
36 En elding
ifla foldar
langa leið
lýsa knátti,
lofanlig
þá er litum skipti
himna sól
við hafröðul.
And the lightning of the land of the hawks [ARM > GOLD] shone for a long distance when the commendable sun of the heavens exchanged colours with the ocean-radiance [GOLD].
37 Svá var Elfr
öll at líta
glæsilig,
sem á gull sæi
frægðarfólk,
er flota þeysti
lofsæll konungr
Ljóðhúsa til.
The entire Götaälv was so glorious to see, as if the famous people were looking at gold, when the praise-blessed king hastened his fleet to Lödöse.
38 Var geðsteinn
gauzkum manni
styrjar stund
í stall drepinn,
áðr ógnstórr
játat hafði
Svía gramr
siklings boði.
The mind-stone [HEART] of the Gautish men was struck by fear in that moment of unrest before the awe-inspiring lord of the Swedes [SWEDISH RULER = Birgir] had agreed to the ruler’s offer.
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