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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ólhelg Lv 1I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Óláfr inn helgi Haraldsson, Lausavísur 1’ 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. 517.

Óláfr inn helgi HaraldssonLausavísur
12

Fyll horn, kona;         fell af hesti
Rannveigar sonr,         þars riðu drengir.
Kunnut Sygnir         á sǫðuldýrum
fullvel fara;         fœr mér ok þér.

Fyll horn, kona; {sonr Rannveigar} fell af hesti, þars drengir riðu. Sygnir kunnut fara fullvel á {sǫðuldýrum}; fœr mér ok þér.

Fill the horn, woman; {Rannveig’s son} [= Halldórr] fell from his horse where the fine fellows were riding. The Sygnir do not know how to travel very well on {saddle-beasts} [HORSES]; bring [it] to me and to you.

Mss: 61(78va), 73aˣ(30r), 71ˣ(21v), 76aˣ(30r), Flat(79va) (ÓH)

Readings: [4] þars (‘þar er’): er 73aˣ, 71ˣ, 76aˣ    [5] Kunnut: ‘knunu æigi’ 76aˣ;    Sygnir: seggir 73aˣ, 71ˣ, 76aˣ    [8] fœr: fá 73aˣ, 71ˣ, 76aˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 220, Skj BI, 210, Skald I, 109-10; Fms 4, 36, ÓH 1941, II, 742-3, Flat 1860-8, II, 13.

Context: The young Óláfr goes hunting in a forest. With him rides a man from Sogn called Halldórr Rannveigarson, who falls from his horse. That evening, as drinks are served (by Óláfr’s mother Ásta in person in 61, or by a courteous serving-woman in the Bæb transcripts 73aˣ, 71ˣ and 76aˣ), Óláfr speaks the stanza. Halldórr then retorts with a stanza (HalldR Lv) about an alleged prank on Óláfr’s part, when he saddled up a goat instead of a horse for his stepfather, Sigurðr sýr ‘Sow’. The stanza exchange is set in the forest in Flat.

Notes: [All]: Lines 1 and 8 are syntactically separate from the remainder of the stanza. They place the stanza in the context of a drinking session, in conflict with the Flat narrative (see Context). It is conceivable that the stanza, along with HalldR Lv, may have belonged to a more extensive set of stanzas in the genre of mannjafnaðr ‘comparison of men’ or senna ‘flyting, contest of insults’ (Clover 1979; Clover 1980), in which rivals competed for the attention of a woman presiding over the drinking-horn. — [1] kona ‘woman’: See Context for the prose compilers’ view of her identity. — [3] sonr Rannveigar ‘Rannveig’s son [= Halldórr]’: Little is known about Halldórr (HalldR; see Biography), and nothing about his mother Rannveig. — [5] Sygnir: The people of Sogn, a district in western Norway. The variant reading seggir ‘men’ is an obvious lectio facilior. The basis for the insult is perhaps that the people of Sogn, a region of very steep terrain where the main transport routes were by sea, were regarded as more handy with boats than horses. Óláfr’s origins, by contrast, appear to have lain in the flatter regions to the east. Ethnic identifications are prevalent in verse insults and may have formed a staple ingredient in court entertainment; cf. the þáttr of the Icelander Sneglu-Halli (Snegl, Mork 1928-32, 234-47; cf. Fraser 2005). — [8] þér ‘you’: The referent of this 2nd pers. pron. is unclear. If not the woman of l. 1, it might be a fellow-drinker and comrade of the speaker.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. 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.
  5. ÓH 1941 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert and Jón Helgason, eds. 1941. Saga Óláfs konungs hins helga: Den store saga om Olav den hellige efter pergamenthåndskrift i Kungliga biblioteket i Stockholm nr. 2 4to med varianter fra andre håndskrifter. 2 vols. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 53. Oslo: Dybwad.
  6. Mork 1928-32 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1928-32. Morkinskinna. SUGNL 53. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  7. Clover, Carol J. 1979. ‘Harbarðsljóð as Generic Farce’. SS 51, 124-45. Rpt. in Acker et al. 2002, 95-118.
  8. Fraser, Lisa. 2005. ‘Royal Entertainment in Morkinskinna, Heimskringla and Fagrskinna’. MS 15, 37-50.
  9. Clover, Carol J. 1980. ‘The Germanic Context of the Unferð Episode’. Speculum 55, 444-68.
  10. Internal references
  11. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Flateyjarbók (Flat)’ 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, pp. clxi-clxii.
  12. Not published: do not cite (SneglII)
  13. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Biography of) Halldórr Rannveigarson’ 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. 797.
  14. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Halldórr Rannveigarson, Lausavísa’ 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. 798.
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