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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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HSt Rst 4I

Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 4’ 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. 901.

Hallar-SteinnRekstefja
345

Fullsnart ‘most swiftly’

fullsnart (adv.): [most swiftly]

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frœknu ‘with a bold’

frœkn (adj.): brave, bold

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hjǫrr ‘the sword’

hjǫrr (noun m.): sword

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fellu ‘fell’

falla (verb): fall

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hefnd ‘revenge’

hefnd (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): revenge

[4] hefnd: hefnt Bb(111va)

notes

[2, 4] lét ... efnda hefnd ‘achieved revenge’: Lit. ‘caused revenge [to be] achieved’. Slight emendation of efndi and hefnt in the sole ms. for ll. 1-4 is required to produce f. acc. sg. p. p. efnda agreeing with hefnd, hence lét ... efnda hefnd. The ms. reading efndi would be a finite verb, 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic. ‘achieved’, but neither it, nor ms. hefnt, p. p. ‘avenged’, produces satisfactory syntax. Anon Óldr 5/8 uses almost identical phrasing to praise Óláfr’s revenge, and as here the stanza also refers to a raid on England. As to the revenge, the slaying of Óláfr’s father Tryggvi Óláfsson is traditionally placed in Norway, and attributed to the treachery of his cousins the Eiríkssynir or Gunnhildarsynir (e.g. HN, MHN 110; Fsk, ÍF 29, 102; Hkr, ÍF 26, 214). Why the attacks on England (ll. 5-8) constituted revenge for Tryggvi is unclear, and this problem may be the reason that ll. 1-4 are omitted in ÓT. Conceivably the Gunnhildarsynir’s connections with England lie behind the allusion here. Alternatively, it may be that the two helmingar in this stanza refer to different campaigns.

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fǫður ‘father’

faðir (noun m.): father

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efnda ‘achieved’

2. efna (verb; °-fnd-): fulfil

[4] efnda: efndi Bb(111va)

notes

[2, 4] lét ... efnda hefnd ‘achieved revenge’: Lit. ‘caused revenge [to be] achieved’. Slight emendation of efndi and hefnt in the sole ms. for ll. 1-4 is required to produce f. acc. sg. p. p. efnda agreeing with hefnd, hence lét ... efnda hefnd. The ms. reading efndi would be a finite verb, 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic. ‘achieved’, but neither it, nor ms. hefnt, p. p. ‘avenged’, produces satisfactory syntax. Anon Óldr 5/8 uses almost identical phrasing to praise Óláfr’s revenge, and as here the stanza also refers to a raid on England. As to the revenge, the slaying of Óláfr’s father Tryggvi Óláfsson is traditionally placed in Norway, and attributed to the treachery of his cousins the Eiríkssynir or Gunnhildarsynir (e.g. HN, MHN 110; Fsk, ÍF 29, 102; Hkr, ÍF 26, 214). Why the attacks on England (ll. 5-8) constituted revenge for Tryggvi is unclear, and this problem may be the reason that ll. 1-4 are omitted in ÓT. Conceivably the Gunnhildarsynir’s connections with England lie behind the allusion here. Alternatively, it may be that the two helmingar in this stanza refer to different campaigns.

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bragnings ‘of the prince’

bragningr (noun m.; °; -ar): prince, ruler

kennings

bragnings þjóðar
‘of the prince of men ’
   = RULER = Óláfr

the prince of men → RULER = Óláfr
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þjóðar ‘of men’

þjóð (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -/-u; -ir): people

kennings

bragnings þjóðar
‘of the prince of men ’
   = RULER = Óláfr

the prince of men → RULER = Óláfr
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Eng ‘Eng’

(non-lexical) < England (noun n.): England

[6] Eng‑: so all others, Ír‑ Bb(111va)

notes

[6] Englandi ‘England’: The Bb (111va) version specifies Ireland, in a line identical with Anon Óldr 6/6. However, the reference to England in ÓT chimes with enskra ‘English’ in l. 7, which seems to be more consistent with the style of the poem, as st. 6/5-8, e.g., mentions Scotland and Scots in the same manner. Furthermore, the Irish are dealt with in st. 6/1-4.

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landi ‘land’

land (noun n.; °-s; *-): land < England (noun n.): England

notes

[6] Englandi ‘England’: The Bb (111va) version specifies Ireland, in a line identical with Anon Óldr 6/6. However, the reference to England in ÓT chimes with enskra ‘English’ in l. 7, which seems to be more consistent with the style of the poem, as st. 6/5-8, e.g., mentions Scotland and Scots in the same manner. Furthermore, the Irish are dealt with in st. 6/1-4.

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odd ‘the point’

oddr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): point of weapon < oddrjóðr (noun m.): [point-reddener]

[7] oddrjóð: so 61, ótrautt Bb(111va), oddrjóðr 54, Bb(22va), oddjǫrð 62, ‘od medal’ Flat

kennings

oddrjóð
‘the point-reddener ’
   = WARRIOR

the point-reddener → WARRIOR

notes

[7] oddrjóð … enskra lýða ‘the point-reddener [WARRIOR] … of English people’: This line in Bb(111va), ótrautt enskrar dróttar ‘not unwilling(ly) ... of the English troop’, does not provide a subject to valda ‘cause(d)’, and has been replaced here with the line found in the ÓT mss. Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) points out that a minor emendation, of gen. sg. þjóðar to acc. pl. þjóðir ‘men, peoples’ in l. 5, can enable the rest of the helmingr in Bb(111va) to be retained, hence frák þjóðir bragnings ótrautt valda aldrspelli enskrar dróttar ‘I have heard that the prince’s men not unwillingly caused the death of English people’.

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rjóð ‘reddener’

1. rjóðr (noun m.): reddener < oddrjóðr (noun m.): [point-reddener]

[7] oddrjóð: so 61, ótrautt Bb(111va), oddrjóðr 54, Bb(22va), oddjǫrð 62, ‘od medal’ Flat

kennings

oddrjóð
‘the point-reddener ’
   = WARRIOR

the point-reddener → WARRIOR

notes

[7] oddrjóð … enskra lýða ‘the point-reddener [WARRIOR] … of English people’: This line in Bb(111va), ótrautt enskrar dróttar ‘not unwilling(ly) ... of the English troop’, does not provide a subject to valda ‘cause(d)’, and has been replaced here with the line found in the ÓT mss. Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) points out that a minor emendation, of gen. sg. þjóðar to acc. pl. þjóðir ‘men, peoples’ in l. 5, can enable the rest of the helmingr in Bb(111va) to be retained, hence frák þjóðir bragnings ótrautt valda aldrspelli enskrar dróttar ‘I have heard that the prince’s men not unwillingly caused the death of English people’.

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enskra ‘of English’

enskr (adj.): English

[7] enskra lýða: so all others, ‘eínskrar drottar’ Bb(111va)

notes

[7] oddrjóð … enskra lýða ‘the point-reddener [WARRIOR] … of English people’: This line in Bb(111va), ótrautt enskrar dróttar ‘not unwilling(ly) ... of the English troop’, does not provide a subject to valda ‘cause(d)’, and has been replaced here with the line found in the ÓT mss. Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) points out that a minor emendation, of gen. sg. þjóðar to acc. pl. þjóðir ‘men, peoples’ in l. 5, can enable the rest of the helmingr in Bb(111va) to be retained, hence frák þjóðir bragnings ótrautt valda aldrspelli enskrar dróttar ‘I have heard that the prince’s men not unwillingly caused the death of English people’.

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lýða ‘people’

lýðr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -; -ir): one of the people

[7] enskra lýða: so all others, ‘eínskrar drottar’ Bb(111va)

notes

[7] oddrjóð … enskra lýða ‘the point-reddener [WARRIOR] … of English people’: This line in Bb(111va), ótrautt enskrar dróttar ‘not unwilling(ly) ... of the English troop’, does not provide a subject to valda ‘cause(d)’, and has been replaced here with the line found in the ÓT mss. Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) points out that a minor emendation, of gen. sg. þjóðar to acc. pl. þjóðir ‘men, peoples’ in l. 5, can enable the rest of the helmingr in Bb(111va) to be retained, hence frák þjóðir bragnings ótrautt valda aldrspelli enskrar dróttar ‘I have heard that the prince’s men not unwillingly caused the death of English people’.

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aldrspelli ‘life-destruction’

aldrspell (noun n.): [life-destruction]

notes

[8] aldrspelli ‘life-destruction’: This cpd (n. nom. sg. aldrspell) could be regarded as a kenning for ‘death’ (so Meissner 437).

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frák ‘I have heard that’

1. fregna (verb): hear of

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valda ‘caused’

valda (verb): cause

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

Lines 5-8 follow st. 3 in ÓT, separated by a statement that Óláfr makes first for England and harries all over the country.

Only Bb(111va) preserves the complete stanza, while the ÓT mss have only ll. 5-8. It is printed as st. 5 in previous eds following the order in ÓT; see Introduction. For Óláfr’s campaigns in England, see also Hfr Óldr 5; on Anon Óldr 5 see below.

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