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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ólhv Hryn 11II

Lauren Goetting (ed.) 2009, ‘Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 11’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 668-9.

Óláfr hvítaskáld ÞórðarsonHrynhenda
101112

Snǫrp bitu járn, sem ísmǫl yrpi
óðastraumr; með heitu blóði
herstefnir rauð hamri ofna
hildar serki framar merkjum.
Grimmum stóð á Gǫndlar himni
grár regnbogi Hnikars þegna;
harða lustu fylking fyrða
fáreldingar meginsára.

Snǫrp járn bitu, sem óðastraumr yrpi ísmǫl; {herstefnir} rauð {hamri ofna serki hildar} með heitu blóði framar merkjum. {Grár regnbogi Hnikars} stóð á {grimmum himni Gǫndlar} þegna; {fáreldingar meginsára} lustu harða fylking fyrða.

Sharp weapons bit, as if a raging stream were casting up pieces of ice; {the army-leader} [WARRIOR = Hákon] reddened {the hammer-woven shirts of battle} [BYRNIES] with hot blood ahead of the standards. {The grey rainbow of Hnikarr <= Óðinn>} [SPEAR] stood in the men’s {fierce sky of Gǫndul <valkyrie>} [SHIELD]; {the destructive lightning bolts of great wounds} [SPEARS] powerfully struck the company of men.

Mss: E(177r-v), F(111ra), 42ˣ(164r), 81a(109rb-va), 8(57r), Flat(178vb) (Hák)

Readings: [1] ísmǫl: om. 81a    [2] ‑straumr: straums F    [4] framar: framari 8, Flat    [5] himni: so all others, ‘hifni’ E    [6] grár: grátt F;    ‑bogi: boði F    [7] harða: harðar F, 42ˣ, 81a, 8, Flat;    lustu: so F, 81a, 8, lýstu E, 42ˣ, leystu Flat;    fyrða: om. F

Editions: Skj AII, 96, Skj BII, 108, Skald II, 57, NN §§2281, 2577; E 1916, 605, F 1871, 516, Hák 1910-86, 560, Hák 1977-82, 128, Flat 1860-8, III, 153.

Context: Part of Skúli’s army was driven inside the churchyard of Hallvardskirken, and the Birkibeinar assaulted them from outside. Both sides launched stones, spears, and arrows across the churchyard. Meanwhile, Hákon advanced toward Skúli and the remaining part of his force.

Notes: [1-2] snǫrp járn bitu, sem óðastraumr yrpi ísmǫl ‘sharp weapons bit, as if a raging stream were casting up pieces of ice’: The flash of weapons in battle is likened to the gleam of ice fragments tossed about in a stream. For similar expressions in prose, see Fritzner: ísmöl. — [4-8]: (a) The weapon-kennings grár regnbogi Hnikars ‘the grey rainbow of Hnikarr’, l. 6, and fáreldingar meginsára ‘the destructive lightning bolts of great wounds’, l. 8, are taken to mean ‘spear’ and ‘spears’ respectively. Kennings for both swords and spears may contain base-words that denote types of light or luminescent objects (including rainbows and lightning; see Meissner 145-6), but because of the immediate prose context, ‘spears’ is preferable to ‘swords’. See also Note to Sturl Hákkv 16 [All]. (b) The second helmingr contains an artful nýgerving. The three kennings are congruent in their use of sky imagery. — [6] þegna ‘men’s’: Kock (NN §2577) interprets all of l. 6 as a kenning for ‘sword’, taking grár regnbogi ‘grey rainbow’ as the base-words and Hnikars þegna ‘of Hnikarr’s men’ i.e. ‘warriors’ as the determinant. A more elegant solution is to place þegna outside the kenning so that there is symmetry between grár regnbogi Hnikars ‘grey rainbow of Hnikarr’ i.e. ‘spear’ and grimmum himni Gǫndlar ‘fierce sky of Gǫndul’ i.e. ‘shield’ (l. 5). Þegna may then modify either kenning as a possessive gen., but it is probably best construed with grimmum himni Gǫndlar, paralleling fyrða ‘of men’ in fylking fyrða ‘company of men’ (l. 6) as the object of the battle assault.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  5. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  6. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  7. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  8. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  9. Hák 1977-82 = Mundt, Marina, ed. 1977. Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar etter Sth. 8 fol., AM 325VIII, 4° og AM 304, 4°. Oslo: Forlagsentralen. Suppl. by James E. Knirk, Rettelser til Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar etter Sth. 8 fol., AM 325VIII, 4° og AM 304, 4°. Norrøne tekster 2. Oslo: Norsk historisk kjeldeskrift-institutt, 1982.
  10. Hák 1910-86 = Kjær, Albert and Ludvig Holm-Olsen, eds. 1910-86. Det Arnamagnæanske haandskrift 81a fol. (Skálholtsbók yngsta) indeholdende Sverris saga, Bǫglungasǫgur, Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar. Oslo: Den norske historiske kildeskriftkommission and Kjeldeskriftfondet.
  11. Internal references
  12. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hákonarkviða 16’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 711-12.
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