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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, 903

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — HSt Rst 6I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 6’ 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. 903.

Ugglaust Íra byggðir
ókvíðinn lét síðan
él-Freyr Ullar kjóla
endr fíkula brenndar.
Skotland skǫrpum brandi
skjald†fryðr† of nam ryðja;
oddr beit — ulfar sǫddusk —
ódeigr Skota feiga.

Síðan lét {ókvíðinn {{Ullar kjóla} él-}Freyr} endr ugglaust byggðir Íra fíkula brenndar. {Skjald†fryðr†} of nam ryðja Skotland skǫrpum brandi; ódeigr oddr beit feiga Skota; ulfar sǫddusk.

Then {the unworried Freyr <god> {of the storm {of the ships of Ullr <god>}}} [(lit. ‘storm-Freyr of the ships of Ullr’) SHIELDS > BATTLE > WARRIOR] once fearlessly caused the settlements of the Irish to be powerfully burned down. {The shield-...} [WARRIOR?] proceeded to clear Scotland with a sharp sword; the unblunt point bit fated Scots; the wolves had their fill.

Mss: Bb(111vb); 61(16vb), 53(15rb) (ll. 5-8), 54(12ra-b), Bb(22va), 62(9va), Flat(16ra) (ll. 5-8) (ÓT, ll. 5-8, 1-4)

Readings: [2] ókvíðinn: ‘okíndinn’ 54;    lét síðan: réð víða 61, 53, 54, Bb(22va), Flat, reið víða 62    [3] Freyr: ‑þeyr 62, ‘‑þreyrr’ Flat;    Ullar: so 61, 54, Bb(22va), Flat, ulfar Bb(111vb), ‘vllra’ 62    [4] fíkula: ‘fikur la’ 54, ‘fikíu la’ Bb(22va), ríkula Flat;    brenndar: brenndan 61, brenndir Flat    [5] ‑land: so 61, 62, Flat, ‑lands Bb(111vb), 53, 54, Bb(22va);    skǫrpum: skǫfnum 61, 53, 54, Bb(22va), skǫmmum 62, Flat;    brandi: om. 53    [6] skjald†fryðr†: ‘skiallprydr’ 62, skjótfróðr Flat;    of: af or of Bb(111vb), ok 61, 53, 54, Bb(22va), 62, om. Flat;    ryðja: rjóða Flat

Editions: Skj: Hallar-Steinn, 1. Rekstefja 6: AI, 545, BI, 526, Skald I, 256; ÓT 1958-2000, I, 159-60 (ch. 77), Flat 1860-8, I, 120; SHI 3, 246-7, CPB II, 296, Wisén 1886-9, I, 47, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 164, Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 202-5.

Context: After citing st. 4/5-8, ÓT relates that Óláfr proceeds via Northumbria to Scotland and raids there (illustrated by st. 6/5-8), then harries the Hebrides, Man and finally Ireland (illustrated by st. 6/1-4).

Notes: [All]: As noted in the Context, the helmingar of the stanza are in reverse order in ÓT, and consequently printed thus in some eds. For Óláfr’s campaigns in Scotland and Ireland, see also Hfr Óldr 6 and the later Anon Óldr 6. — [2] síðan lét ‘then … caused’: The ÓT reading réð víða is equally possible, with réð as ‘decided’ or a pleonastic auxiliary and víða adv. ‘widely’. — [3] Ullar kjóla ‘of the ships of Ullr <god> [SHIELDS]’: This is a recognized type of shield-kenning (SnE 1998, I, 67; Meissner 166), but the myth that must underlie it is now lost; see further Note to Gamlkan Has 64/1VII. — [6] skjaldfryðr† ‘the shield-... [WARRIOR?]’: A warrior-kenning is indicated by the context. The meaning of the element ‑fryðr is obscure, but it is the reading of most mss; ‘pryðr’ in 61 may result from a misreading of <f> as <p>. Flat has skjótfróðr ‘shooting-wise/swift-wise’ rhyming with rjóða ‘redden’, which may be a scribal emendation, but Skj B and Skald take the lead from Flat in reading skotfróðr, again ‘shooting-wise’, and rjóða. Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) suggests the emendation skjaldbjóðr ‘shield-offerer’. — [6] of: Emendation to the expletive particle is necessary here, and is adopted in previous eds. The ms. readings af ‘from’ and ok ‘and’ do not fit the sense and syntax of the helmingr but both could be corruptions of of by scribes more familiar with the later expletive form um. Further, the vowel graph in Bb(111vb) is unclear and could be taken as <o>.

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