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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, 934

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

32 — HSt Rst 32I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 32’ 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. 934.

Hringskóðs herðimeiðar
hvar viti, þann es anni,
eldvellds annan stilli,
óð*ríkr frama slíkum,
gunnelds geymirunnum
(gǫndlar fýst*) sem lýstak
(hirð vas hans at morði
hrygg) arfþega Tryggva.

Hvar viti {herðimeiðar {eldvellds hringskóðs}} annan stilli, þann es óð*ríkr anni slíkum frama, sem lýstak {geymirunnum {gunnelds}} {arfþega Tryggva}; hirð fýst* gǫndlar vas hrygg at morði hans.

Where would {hardening trees {of the fire-forged mail-shirt-harmer}} [SWORD > WARRIORS] know of any other ruler, who, very mighty, is able to perform such splendid deeds as I have described {to the keeping trees {of the battle-fire}} [SWORD > WARRIORS] {concerning the heir of Tryggvi} [= Óláfr]; the retinue eager for battle was desolate at his killing.

Mss: Bb(112rb-va)

Readings: [1] Hring‑: þing‑ Bb;    ‑meiðar: ‑meiða Bb    [2] viti: vita Bb    [3] eld‑: ‘ell’ Bb    [4] óð*ríkr: óðr ríkr Bb    [6] gǫndlar: gǫndla Bb;    fýst*: fýstr Bb    [7] vas: ‘va’ Bb    [8] ‑þega: ‘degi’ Bb

Editions: Skj: Hallar-Steinn, 1. Rekstefja 32: AI, 551, BI, 533, Skald I, 259, NN §§1186, 3123; SHI 3, 264-7, CPB II, 300, Wisén 1886-9, I, 50, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 164, Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 281-3.

Notes: [All]: There may be influence from Steinn ÓldrII here; see Note to st. 12 [All]. It is also noticeable that, as in Hfr ErfÓl 27 (see Note to st. 27 [All]), the two helmingar are syntactically linked in order to convey the idea that Óláfr’s greatness is unmatched. — [1] hringskóðs ‘mail-shirt-harmer [SWORD]’: The alliteration in l. 1 is flawed and, as in previous eds, ms. þing is here emended to hring- since a word with the stave h is needed. Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) and LP: hringskóð explain that hringr must refer by metonymy to a mail-shirt of metal rings, as it does in SnH Lv 1/3II and SnSt Ht 2/3III (and see Notes ad loc.), although in these contexts hring- is in the pl. Sword-kennings with skóð ‘harm, harmer’ and similar as base-word are standard (see Meissner 156). — [3] eldvellds : stilli: The rhyme could be formed by eld- or -vellds with stilli, and cf. st. 33/3 tjalds : stilli. These could be rhymes involving first consonant only, i.e. of l and not ld (cf. Kuhn 1983, 77), or it could be that d has been assimilated in consonant clusters such as lds: see following Note. — [3] eldvellds ‘fire-forged’: A unique adj. containing the p. p. from vella ‘boil, cook’. The reading eld- may be deemed a normalisation rather than an emendation since <ll> in the ms. can be an assimilated form of <ld>; cf. ms. ‘siall’ for sjald- in st. 35/6. — [5-8]: The helmingr is apparently corrupt and emendations unavoidable. (a) The text and translation above adopt the minor emendations of ms. fýstr (m. nom. sg.) to fýst (f. nom. sg.) ‘eager’ and of arfþegi (m. nom. sg.) to arfþega (m. gen./dat. sg.) ‘heir’ as in Skj B. (b) A solution retaining the grammatical concord of fýstr arfþegi ‘eager heir’ and avoiding emendations to those two words is possible if it is assumed that vas ‘was’ (emended from ms. ‘va’ by all eds) in l. 7 functions in two clauses, hirð vas hrygg at morði hans ‘the retinue was desolate at his killing’ and arfþegi Tryggva vas fýstr gǫndlar ‘the heir of Tryggvi was eager for battle’. An understood vas ‘was’ would be paralleled in st. 17/7. (c) Kock (NN §1186) also retains fýstr, assuming that it qualifies the ek ‘I’ of lýstak ‘I described’, referring to the skald, but it would be exceptional for Hallar-Steinn to refer to his own valour in this way. — [6] gǫndlar ‘for battle’: The word is also a valkyrie-name, as in st. 18/5.

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