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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hallar-Steinn (HSt)

12th century; volume 1; ed. Rolf Stavnem;

1. Rekstefja (Rst) - 35

Skj info: Hallar-Steinn, Islandsk skjald, 12. årh. (AI, 543-53, BI, 525-35).

Skj poems:
1. Rekstefja
2. a. Af et digt om en kvinde
2. b. Af et digt om Skáldhelgi(?)

Nothing is known about this skald (HSt) except what can be deduced from his nickname, which has been identified with the farm-name Höll, in Þverárhlíð, Mýrasýsla, western Iceland (Finnur Jónsson 1907, 185), and from the poetry attributed to him. His main extant work is the drápa Rekstefja (HSt Rst), whose ambitious praise of Óláfr Tryggvason might well point to Iceland at the end of the twelfth century or somewhat later (see Skj, and Introduction to the poem below). Hallar-Steinn has been identified (e.g. by Wisén 1886-9, I, 143) with the eleventh-century poet Steinn Herdísarson (SteinnII), but this is implausible. HSt Frag 1, of uncertain origin but probably attributable to this poet, may also commemorate Óláfr Tryggvason, while HSt Frag 2-5III represent a love-lorn poet. These fragments are preserved only in treatises on poetics and grammar, and are therefore edited in SkP III, as are two further fragments, HSt Frag 6-7III.

Rekstefja (‘Split-refrain’) — HSt RstI

Rolf Stavnem 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja’ 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. 893.

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Skj: Hallar-Steinn: 1. Rekstefja (AI, 543-52, BI, 525-34); stanzas (if different): 3 | 4 | 5

SkP info: I, 912

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

14 — HSt Rst 14I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 14’ 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. 912.

Morðlinns mǫrgu sinni
móðþrútinn bjó úti
— húfr svall; hrannir fellu —
hvessimeiðr á skeiðum.
Gyllt hlýr — gnǫpðu skoltar —
gunnfíkinn lét blíkja
herrunnr hǫfnum fjarri.
Hollr ok fremstr at ǫllu.

{Móðþrútinn hvessimeiðr {morðlinns}} bjó mǫrgu sinni úti á skeiðum; húfr svall; hrannir fellu. {Gunnfíkinn herrunnr} lét gyllt hlýr blíkja fjarri hǫfnum; skoltar gnǫpðu. Hollr ok fremstr at ǫllu …

{The courage-swollen whetting pole {of the battle-snake}} [SWORD > WARRIOR] many a time stayed out at sea on his warships; the hull swelled; the waves crashed. {The battle-eager army-tree} [WARRIOR] let the gilded bow gleam far from harbours; foreheads bent forward. Faithful and foremost in all things …

Mss: Bb(111vb-112ra); 61(62rb), 53(60rb), 54(56rb), Bb(91vb-92ra), Flat(60vb) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] ‑linns: so 61, 53, 54, Flat, bands Bb(111vb), lindr or linds Bb(91vb)    [2] ‑þrútinn: ‘‑(b)rutin’(?) 53;    bjó: svall Flat    [5] Gyllt: so 61, Bb(91vb), Flat, ‘gullt’ Bb(111vb), 53, 54;    skoltar: so 61, Flat, ‘skalptar’ Bb(111vb), 54, Bb(91vb), skolptar 53    [6] ‑fíkinn: so 61, 53, Flat, ‘‑filínn’ Bb(111vb), 54, Bb(91vb);    blíkja: so 61, 53, Flat, blikra Bb(111vb), 54, Bb(91vb)    [8] Hollr: hǫll all others

Editions: Skj: Hallar-Steinn, 1. Rekstefja 14: AI, 546-7, BI, 528, Skald I, 257, NN §1795; ÓT 1958-2000, II, 214 (ch. 234), Flat 1860-8, I, 456; SHI 3, 252-3, CPB II, 297, Wisén 1886-9, I, 47-8, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 164, Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 234-8.

Context: The stanza concludes a brief passage on the king’s seaborne expeditions during the summers.

Notes: [1] -linns ‘-snake’: The ÓT reading is adopted here since it yields a standard sword-kenning (Meissner 154), and although it produces aðalhending in an odd line, such lines are well attested in Rst (see Introduction). The Bb(111vb) reading bands (ms. ‘bandz’) makes no sense in context and may be a corruption of brandr ‘flame, fire’, which also occurs in sword-kennings (Meissner 150). — [5] skoltar ‘foreheads’: This, the younger form of skolptr (LP: skolptr), is indicated by the skothending on gyllt. The word must refer to the dragon heads or other figure-heads on viking ships. — [6] blíkja ‘gleam’: This, the reading of some ÓT mss, is preferable in terms of sense and rhyme to the rare blikra, which could mean ‘blink’ (CVC: blikra) or (impersonal) ‘quiver (from fright)’ (ONP: blikra). — [8]: For this line of the refrain, see Note to st. 9/8.

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