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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson (Hfr)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Diana Whaley;

2. Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar (ErfÓl) - 29

Skj info: Hallfrøðr Óttarsson vandræðaskáld, Islandsk skjald, død ved 1007. (AI, 155-73, BI, 147-63).

Skj poems:
1. Hákonardrápa
2. Óláfsdrápa
3. Óláfsdrápa, erfidrápa
4. Eiríksdrápa
5. Lausavísur

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ‘Troublesome-poet’ Óttarsson (Hfr) was brought up in Vatnsdalur, northern Iceland, probably in the 960s. He is the subject of Hallfreðar saga (Hallfr), which survives both as a continuous text (ÍF 8, 133-200) and interpolated into ÓT. The main strands of the saga are Hallfreðr’s unhappy relationship with Kolfinna Ávaldadóttir, his travels as trader, fighter and poet, his conversion to Christianity and his devotion to Óláfr Tryggvason, and all these aspects of his life occasioned poetry which partially survives.

Fragments of an early drápa for Hákon jarl Sigurðarson (r. c. 970-c. 995) are extant (Hfr HákdrIII; ÍF 8, 151), but the greater part of Hallfreðr’s court poetry, and the poetry edited in this volume, concerns King Óláfr Tryggvason (c. 995-c. 1000): Óláfsdrápa (Hfr Óldr) and Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar (Hfr ErfÓl). Like other Icelanders, Hallfreðr accepted Christian baptism under the influence of Óláfr. The difficulty, for a poet and pagan, of this switch of religious allegiance is the theme of Hfr Lv 6-10V, and is, according to the sagas, alluded to in his nickname vandræðaskáld, lit. ‘Poet of difficulties’. The sagas agree that the name was bestowed by the king, though they differ about the precise reason (ÓTOdd 1932, 125-6; Hkr, ÍF 26, 331-2; Hallfr, ÍF 8, 155; ÓT 1958-2000, I, 387). Hallfreðr is attributed with a lost Uppreistardrápa ‘Restoration drápa’ (?), supposedly composed to atone for his journey into pagan Gautland (Västergötland, ÍF 8, 178). He is also credited in Hallfr (ÍF 8, 194-5) with an encounter with Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson (r. c. 1000-c. 1014) and in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 257, 266, 280) with poetry for him; this is vestigially preserved in Eiríksdrápa (Hfr EirdrV). The saga also shows Hallfreðr presenting a flokkr to the Danish jarl Sigvaldi (ÍF 8, 168) and a poem to the Swedish king Óláfr Eiríksson (ÍF 8, 177-8), but no traces of these survive.

The marriage of Kolfinna, the love of Hallfreðr’s youth, to Gríss Sæmingsson provoked Hallfreðr both early and later in life to compose strikingly inventive stanzas which intertwine themes of yearning love and rivalry (Hfr Lv 1-3, 15-24V), and his níð against Gríss led to legal proceedings and indirectly to the killing of Hallfreðr’s brother Galti (Ldn, ÍF 1, 224; ÍF 8, 189-90). In the course of an adventure in Västergötland (Hfr Lv 12-14V), Hallfreðr met and married Ingibjǫrg Þórisdóttir, who died young, but not before bearing two sons, Auðgísl and Hallfreðr. According to Hallfr (ÍF 8, 196-9), Hallfreðr himself died at the age of nearly forty, from a combination of illness and injury as he sailed through the Hebrides; he was buried on Iona (cf. Hfr Lv 26-7V).

file 2002-03-21 - York Hfr paper notes
file 2002-03-27 - York Hfr paper draft

Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar (‘Memorial drápa for Óláfr Tryggvason’) — Hfr ErfÓlI

Kate Heslop 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar’ 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. 400.

 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   26a   26b   27   28 

Skj: Hallfrøðr Óttarsson vandræðaskáld: 3. Óláfsdrápa, erfidrápa, 1001 (AI, 159-66, BI, 150-7); stanzas (if different): 1 | 2 | 3 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 27 | 28 | 29

SkP info: I, 427

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

19 — Hfr ErfÓl 19I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


lemmatised words

This information has not been reviewed and should not be referred to.

af (prep.) ‘from...’ — 19/2 var

aldr (noun m.) [°aldrs, dat. aldri; aldrar] ‘life, age...’ — 19/2 var

4at (conj.) ‘that...’ — 19/3 var

1árr (noun m.) [°dat. ár; ǽrir/árar, acc. áru] ‘messenger...’ærir 19/5

1bella (verb) [°præt. sg. ball] ‘deal with...’belldi 19/6

bíða (verb) [°bíðr; beið, biðu; beðit] ‘wait, suffer, experience...’ — 19/2

3ef (conj.) ‘if...’ — 19/7

2einn (pron.) [°decl. cf. einn num.] ‘one, alone...’ein 19/1 var

ek (pron.) [°mín, dat. mér, acc. mik] ‘I, me...’mér 19/1

eldr (noun m.) [°-s, dat. -i/-(HómÍsl¹‰(1993) 24v²⁴); -ar] ‘fire...’elds 19/6

4en (conj.) ‘than...’ — 19/1 var

2firra (verb) ‘keep (from), remove...’firrðr 19/3

frá (prep.) ‘from...’ — 19/4 var

fyr (prep.) ‘for, over, because of, etc....’ — 19/4

haf (noun n.) [°-s; *-] ‘sea...’ — 19/8 var

hafklif (noun n.)hafklifs 19/8 var

handan (adv.) ‘across...’ — 19/4

haukklif (noun n.)haukklifs 19/8 var

1haukr (noun m.) [°-s, dat. -i/-; -ar] ‘hawk...’hauk 19/8 var, hauka 19/7

háklif (noun n.) ‘[high cliff]...’hôklifs 19/8

3hár (adj.) [°-van; compar. hǽrri, superl. hǽstr] ‘high...’ 19/8

heilalíkn (noun f.) ‘[healing mercy]...’ — 19/7

hím- ((prefix)) ‘[universally]...’ 19/3

2inn (art.) ‘the...’ — 19/1 var

jǫfurr (noun m.) ‘ruler, prince...’ — 19/8

klif (noun n.) [°-s; -] ‘cliff...’klifs 19/8

land (noun n.) [°-s; *-] ‘land...’ — 19/4, landi 19/3 var

landnorðr (noun n.) — 19/4 var

landvǫrðr (noun m.) ‘land-guardian...’ — 19/4

2láð (noun n.) ‘earth, land...’láði 19/3 var, láði 19/3

lifa (verb) ‘live...’lifði 19/8

lýðr (noun m.) [°-s, dat. -; -ir] ‘one of the people...’lýðum 19/3 var, lýðum 19/3

maðr (noun m.) ‘man, person...’ — 19/2, menn 19/2 var

máni (noun m.) [°-a] ‘moon...’mána 19/1 var

meiri (adj. comp.) [°meiran; superl. mestr] ‘more, most...’meira 19/1, 19/1 var

minn (pron.) [°f. mín, n. mitt] ‘my...’mín 19/2 var

1muna (verb) ‘remember...’mank 19/2 var

munu (verb) ‘will, must...’muna 19/2 var, muni 19/2, munum 19/2 var, munuma 19/2 var

mær (noun f.) [°meyjar, dat. meyju; meyjar] ‘maiden...’ — 19/1 var

(conj.) ‘nor...’ — 19/1

norðan (adv.) ‘from the north...’ — 19/4 var

1norðr (noun n.) [°-s] ‘[Norwegians, north]...’ — 19/4 var

4of (particle) ‘(before verb)...’ — 19/2

3ok (conj.) ‘and, but; also...’ — 19/3

1 (pron.) [°gen. þess, dat. þeim, acc. þann; f. sú, gen. þeirrar, acc. þá; n. þat, dat. því; pl. m. þeir, f. þǽ---] ‘that (one), those...’þeim 19/6

segja (verb) ‘say, tell...’sagði 19/1 var, Sagðr 19/1

sjór (noun m.) ‘sea...’ 19/4

2stríð (noun n.) [°-s; -] ‘affliction...’ — 19/2

1svik (noun n.) [°-s; -] ‘deceit, treachery; poison...’svikum 19/6

2vera (verb) ‘be, is, was, were, are, am...’vas 19/1, Væri 19/5

vér (pron.) [°gen. vár, dat./acc. oss] ‘we, us, our...’oss 19/5

vǫrðr (noun m.) [°varðar, dat. verði/vǫrð; verðir, acc. vǫrðu] ‘guardian, defender...’ — 19/4

þjóð (noun f.) [°-ar, dat. -/-u; -ir] ‘people...’ — 19/6 var

þótt (conj.) ‘although...’ — 19/5

því (adv.) ‘therefore, because...’ — 19/2 var

2æra (verb) ‘make fertile...’ærumz 19/6 var

unlemmatised variants — þoslt (19); ællz (19)


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