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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;

4. Hákonarflokkr (Hákfl) - 11

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.

Hákonarflokkr — Sturl HákflII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Sturla Þórðarson, Hákonarflokkr’ 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. 745-55.

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Skj: Sturla Þórðarson: 6. Hákonarflokkr, 1263-64 (AII, 124-7, BII, 132-4)

in texts: Flat, Hák

SkP info: II, 745-55

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Ern lét austr til Vörnu
allvaldr skipum haldit;
Rínfúra vann rýrir
Ribbunga hlut þungan.
Ok óstilta elti
örþingaðr víkinga
— rönd klauf ræsir steinda —
reiðr á land af skeiðum.
The vigorous mighty ruler brought the ships east to Værne; the diminisher of Rhine-fires [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] made the Ribbungar’s situation grievous. And the angry assembly-convener of the arrow [WARRIOR] chased the rowdy vikings ashore from the warships; the prince clove the painted shield.
2 Hólmreyðar gekk hjálmi
Hörða valdr of faldinn,
enn sá er úthlaupsmönnum,
auðmildr, sakar gildi.
Fellu fjandmenn stillis;
fekk tafn bláum hrafni,
en sigrgæði síðan
sumir skunduðu undan.
The wealth-generous ruler of the Hǫrðar [NORWEGIAN KING = Hákon], who again repaid the rebels for their crimes, advanced hooded with the helmet of the island-char [SNAKE > HELMET OF TERROR]. The enemies of the lord fell; he gave bloody prey to the dark raven, and later some rushed away from the victory-strengthener [WARRIOR].
3 Hljóp, sá er hersum steypa,
hyrgildandi, vildi,
ýgr frá allvalds mági
járnsveims ór Þrándheimi.
Endr lét Erlings frændi
Upplönd farit bröndum;
stríð hlutu stála meiðar
stórþung af Ribbungum.
The fearsome validator of the fire of weapon-commotion [(lit. ‘fire-validator of weapon-commotion’) BATTLE > SWORD > WARRIOR], who wished to overturn the hersar, escaped from Trondheim from the in-law of the mighty ruler. The kinsman of Erlingr [= Sigurðr] again advanced in Opplandene with swords; the trees of weapons [WARRIORS] suffered oppressive torment from the Ribbungar.
4 Eim lék hyrr með himni;
hljóp eldr í sal feldan;
vítt hykk þegnum þóttu
þeim markar böl sveima.
Óðuz allar þjóðir
(eiðvandr) konungs reiði
(baugsendir rauð brýndan
brand í Vermalandi).
Fire played on fire against the sky; the flame leaped into the collapsed hall; I believe those men thought the harm of the forest [FIRE] was surging far and wide. All people feared the wrath of the king; the reliable ring-giver [GENEROUS MAN] reddened the sharpened sword in Värmland.
5 Ríkr gaf hlenna hneykir
herþrungit Ribbungum
ógnar skýs í Ósló
eitt kveld meginsveitum.
Mildr kom heimskum hauldum
hervígs á glapstígu;
kendu langt í landi
Laufvíkingar ríkis.
The powerful repressor of robbers [JUST RULER = Hákon] gave the Ribbungar one very oppressive evening in Oslo with the main forces of the cloud of terror [SHIELD]. The one generous with battle forced the foolish men onto pernicious paths; the Forest-vikings [= the Ribbungar] felt the power far into the land.
6 Flokkr tók enn, sá er ekki,
ógnmildr, friðaz vildi,
ept dólgstríði dauðan
dáðfinginn höfðingja.
Knútr réð bág at brjóta
böðhraustr við gram traustan
geystr, þvít Gautar fýstu
geðbráðir landráða.
The terror-generous troop, which would not be pacified, again appointed a deed-ready chieftain to succeed the dead enemy-combatant [WARRIOR = Sigurðr]. Battle-brave Knútr decided, vehement, to oppose the reliable ruler because the impetuous Gautar urged treason.
7 Vitr lét virki brjóta
valdr norrænar aldar
austr, þar er jöfrar treystuz
ógnfúsir, Ljóðhúsa.
Þat veitk, at galt Gautum
göfugr oddviti jöfra
— þjóð fekk ræsis reiði —
rán; gekk slíkt at vánum.
The wise ruler of the Norwegian people [NORWEGIAN KING = Hákon] let the stronghold of Lödöse be broken in the east, where terror-eager princes felt secure. This I know, that the glorious leader of princes [KING] repaid the Gautar for the plunder; people got the wrath of the ruler; such went according to expectation.
8 Rán galt randa týnir
rógstríðr Dönum síðan;
fyst kom fúra lestir
fleyvangs til Ekreyja.
Öld hét gnógu gjaldi
gullstríði þá síðan;
lönd tók lofðungr Þrænda
liðbáls at veðmála.
Thereafter the strife-harsh destroyer of shield-rims [WARRIOR] repaid the Danes for plunder; first the damager of the fires of the ship-field [SEA > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] came to Öckerö. People then later promised the gold-tormentor [GENEROUS MAN] abundant payment; the lord of the Þrændir [NORWEGIAN KING = Hákon] accepted lands as security for the limb-pyre [GOLD].
9 Veitti virða dróttinn
víkelds gjafir ríkjum
— gullsviptir hlaut giptu —
göfugr Skánunga jöfri.
Heim kom hilmir Rauma
— hvatir fundu þat skatnar —
ár með öflgum tíri
ólestr ok veg mestum.
The glorious lord of men [KING = Hákon] gave the mighty prince of the Skánungar [DANISH KING = Kristófór] gifts of the inlet-pyre [GOLD]; the gold-flinger [GENEROUS MAN] got good fortune. The ruler of the Raumar [NORWEGIAN KING = Hákon] soon returned home unharmed with high honour and the greatest glory; bold men noticed that.
10 Öll vann Egða stillir
aptr geirbrúar krapta
skjótt af skozkum dróttum
skattlönd megingrönduðs.
Reisti øngr við yngva
(ólest) fyr haf vestan
(rógsækis varð ríki)
rönd veðrboði Göndlar.
The ruler of the Egðir [NORWEGIAN KING = Hákon] quickly recaptured all the tributary lands of the mighty harmer of the bollard of the spear-bridge [SHIELD > SWORD > WARRIOR = Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson] from the Scottish people. No messenger of Gǫndul’s <valkyrie’s> storm [(lit. ‘Gǫndul’s storm-messenger’) BATTLE > WARRIOR] raised a shield against the king west of the ocean; the realm of the strife-conqueror [WARRIOR = Hákon] was undiminished.
11 Þrimr náttum kom Þróttar
þinghlynr til Björgynjar,
áðr en allvald prúðan
ófs dynviðir grófu.
Margr stóð málma fergir
— mikit stríð var þat — síðan
lýða grams yfir leiði
lítt kátr með brá váta.
The maple of Þróttr’s <= Óðinn’s> assembly [(lit. ‘assembly-maple of Þróttr’) BATTLE > WARRIOR = Hákon] was brought for three nights to Bergen, before the trees of the din of the sword [(lit. ‘the din-trees of the sword’) BATTLE > WARRIORS] buried the splendid mighty ruler. Many a subjugator of weapons [WARRIOR] later stood little cheerful with wet eyelashes above the grave of the lord of men [KING]; that was a great grief.
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