Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl)

13th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

1. Hrynhenda (Hryn) - 21

Skj info: Sturla Þórðarson, Islandsk skjald og historiker, 1214-84 (AII, 101-29, BII, 112-36).

Skj poems:
1. Þverárvísur
2. Þorgilsdrápa
3. Hrynhenda
4. Hákonarkviða
5. Hrafnsmál
6. Hákonarflokkr
7. En drape om Magnús lagaböter
8. Lausavísur

The life of Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl) is chronicled in Sturlunga saga (Stu). He was born on 29 July 1214 as the second son of Þórðr Sturluson and his concubine Þóra, and he was the younger brother of Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson (Ólhv). In his early years he spent much time with his uncle, the poet, historian and lawspeaker Snorri Sturluson (SnSt, d. 1241), and later he took an active part in the events that played out before and after the collapse of the Icel. Commonwealth. Sturla was lawspeaker in Iceland 1251-2 and lawman, appointed by the Norw. king, 1272-82. In 1263 he went to Norway where he met King Magnús lagabœtir ‘Law-mender’ Hákonarson (d. 1280). After an initially very cool reception, the king commissioned him to write the saga of Magnús’s father Hákon Hákonarson (d. 1264) and also that of Magnús himself. Sturla later became the retainer (hirðmaðr, skutilsveinn) of Magnús and brought the law code Járnsíða ‘Ironside’ from Norway to Iceland in 1271. The story of Sturla’s journey to Norway in 1263 and his dealings with Magnús is recounted in Sturlu þáttr (StÞ), preserved in a version of Stu. In addition to the sagas of Hákon Hákonarson (Hák) and the no longer extant saga of his son Magnús lagabœtir (only two leaves are preserved in AM 325 X 4°), Sturla is the author of Íslendinga saga (Ísls) and of a redaction of Landnámabók (Ldn, in AM 107 folˣ = Stˣ). Some scholars believe that he may have been responsible for the extant redaction of Kristni saga (Kristni) (see LH 1894-1901, II, 98-105, 717-43), and he is also mentioned as an informant by the author of Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar (Gr; see ÍF 7, 157, 226, 289). Like his uncle, Snorri, and his brother, Óláfr, Sturla was a prolific poet. According to Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 256, 260, 272, 279, 384-96), he composed poems in honour of the Norw. kings Hákon Hákonarson and Magnús lagabœtir Hákonarson, and also about the Swed. jarl Birgir Magnússon (d. 1266). Nothing is preserved of Sturla’s panegyrics to the latter, but two sts from his poetry to Magnús are recorded in Hák (see Magnússdrápa (Sturl Magndr) below). The bulk of Sturla’s poetic oeuvre about Hákon Hákonarson is interspersed with the prose in Hák: Hrynhenda (Sturl Hryn), Hákonarkviða (Sturl Hákkv), Hrafnsmál (Sturl Hrafn) and Hákonarflokkr (Sturl Hákfl). In addition to these encomia, Sturla composed poetry about events and dignitaries in Iceland: namely Þverárvísur (Sturl ÞvervIV) and Þorgilsdrápa (Sturl ÞorgdrIV), both of which have been edited in SkP IV. That is also the case with his lvv. (Sturl Lv 1-4IV). One fragment which earlier eds assigned to Hryn (earlier st. 22) has been edited in SkP III as Sturl FragIII. Sturla died on 30 July 1284 and was buried in the Church of S. Peter at Staðarhóll.

Hrynhenda — Sturl HrynII

Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda’ 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. Brepols, Turnhout, pp. 676-98.

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Skj: Sturla Þórðarson: 3. Hrynhenda, 1262 (AII, 102-8, BII, 113-18); stanzas (if different): 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 22

in texts: Flat, Hák

SkP info: II, 676-98

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Frægjan réð þik Vilhjálmr vígja,
varrbáls hötuðr, kardináli;
engi valdiz jafngóðr hingat
aldar gramr af páfa valdi.
Kórónu lét kristni stýrir,
kynprýddr jöfurr, yðr of skrýdda;
ramri grund hafið, ríkisvandar
reiðivaldr, með frægðum haldit.
Cardinal William consecrated you, renowned one, hater of the sea-flame [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN]; none as good was sent here by the Pope’s power, ruler of men [KING]. The leader of Christianity [CARDINAL] had you, high-born prince, adorned with a crown; swinger of the royal sceptre [KING], you have held the mighty land with renown.
2 Austan sendi gulli glæsta
Gauta stýrir megindýrum,
seima þollr, með sæmðum öllum
sína dóttur arfa þínum.
Völdugr tóktu af mestri mildi,
málma skerðir, Svía ferðar
— aldir dýrka yðvart veldi
eirarsamt — við brúðför þeiri.
The commander of the Gautar [= Birgir Magnússon] sent from the east to your most noble heir his daughter, adorned with gold, with all honours, fir-tree of gold [MAN]. Powerful diminisher of weapons [WARRIOR], you received with the greatest generosity the bridal train of the Swedes’ troop; people glorify your peaceful empire.
3 Öldum segik, hvé ófrið gulduð,
unnviggs skipuðr, Dönum sunnan;
víða settu þínar þjóðir
þunnar skeiðr af fýrihlunnum.
Stórir höfðu útboð ærin
yðrir þegnar rán at hegna
(ýtum þóttit leiðangr lítill)
langa stund (fyrir víðri grundu).
I tell men how you repaid the Danes for hostility from the south, commander of the wave-steed [SHIP > KING]; your troops launched far and wide slender warships from the fir-rollers. Your mighty liegemen had ample conscription to punish plundering for a long time; men did not consider the fleet to be small off the wide land.
4 Framla dreif til hverrar hömlu
hilmis þjóð ins mærðarfróða;
síðan helduð suðr með láði,
seima stiklir, flota miklum.
Hræddar urðu Hallands ferðir,
hringa Baldr, af þínu valdi;
engi maðr var Jóta þengils
óttalauss við Nóregs dróttin.
The men of the renowned ruler rushed boldly to every rowlock; then you brought a great fleet southwards along the coast, thrower of gold [GENEROUS RULER]. The people of Halland became frightened by your power, Baldr <god> of rings [MAN]; not one man of the ruler of the Jótar [DANISH KING = Kristófór] was not without fear of the lord of Norway [= Hákon].
5 Eigi sátuð, jöfra hneitir
ættumgóðr, at rofnar sættir
— stirðan bjoggu hirðmenn harðir
herskips streng — í kyrðum lengi.
Mætum helt fyrir Elfi útan
— auðit léztu flotnum dauða —
— nauða vissu nýjar súðir —
Norðmanna gramr fýriborðum.
You did not sit long in quiet, high-born striker of princes [RULER], with the truces broken; the tough retainers readied the hard anchor rope of the warship. The ruler of the Norwegians [= Hákon] directed the splendid fir-planks off the Götaälv; you decreed death for the men; the new plankings experienced hardship.
6 Svíða létu þínar þjóðir
þunnar skeiðr með búnu reiði
— Gautar spurðu leiðangr ljótan —
lunda völl at Mostrarsundi.
Síðan leit, er seglum hlóðu,
snarfengr konungr, yðrir drengir
— lýsa tók af herskips hausum —
hrygðarfólk í Dana bygðum.
Your men caused the slender warships with adorned tackle to move swiftly across [lit. scorch] the plain of puffins [SEA] to Mostrarsund; the Gautar heard about the menacing fleet. Then the rueful people in the settlements of the Danes saw when your warriors, sturdy king, took down the sails; it began to gleam from the warship’s heads.
7 Allvaldr, rétt, því er ýtar heldu
ógnarbráðs at fylkis láði;
prúðar náðu sveitir síðan
sóknarstrangs á land at ganga.
Stórar (létu Halland herjat
hirðmenn þínir) frelsi sínu
víða týndu virða kindir
(vægðarlaust fyrir Geitkjörr austan).
Mighty ruler, you caused the men to go to the land of the battle-swift leader; the brave troops of the war-fierce one then went ashore. Great sons of men lost their freedom far and wide; your retainers raided Halland without mercy east of Geitkjörr.
8 Syngja létu snarpir drengir
sóknar gífr í fleina drífu;
brandar hleyptu ört ór undum
ærnu blóði danskrar þjóðar.
Víða fellu vegnir þollar
(vígadrótt) í reknum flótta
(faldin gekk þar fast at hildi)
frægra málma (ægishjálmi).
Brisk warriors made the troll-woman of battle [AXE] sing in the snow-storm of spears [BATTLE]; swords made plenty of blood flow swiftly from the wounds of the Danish people. The fir-trees of famous weapons [WARRIORS] fell slain far and wide in flight; the war-band, hooded with the helmet of terror, pressed on hard in the battle there.
9 Styrkir gengu menn und merkjum
málma lunds á víðri grundu
— valgammr sleit at vápna móti
varma bráð — af þínu ráði.
Sjálfri skipti örn við úlfa
ógnarbáru höfuðsára
(gyldir stóð yfir greypra hölda
grimrar þjóðar (meginblóði).
Strong men marched beneath the banners of the tree of weapons [WARRIOR = Hákon] on the wide plain according to your plan; the corpse-vulture [RAVEN/EAGLE] tore the warm flesh at the meeting of weapons [BATTLE]. The eagle shared with the wolves the very battle-wave [BLOOD] from the head-wounds of the fierce people; the wolf stood over the life-blood of cruel warriors.
10 Hæstan kyndu hirðmenn traustir
heitan eld í Danaveldi;
skæriligr gekk húsum hæri
hallar gandr á sviðnu landi.
Víða fór um búkarls búðir
birkisótt, en hræddar dróttir
— bragnar eyddu báli slegnu
brunnit land — til skógar runnu.
The trusty retainers kindled the highest hot fire in the realm of the Danes; the bright wolf of the hall [FIRE] leapt higher than the houses on the scorched land. The sickness of the birch-tree [FIRE] went far and wide through the dwellings of the farmer, but the frightened people fled to the wood; men devastated the land burnt by the kindled fire.
11 Gneistum hratt fyrir Elfi austan
elris garmr í ráfit varma;
síðan fellu hávar hallir
hrygðarstund í Dana bygðum.
Innin tóku öll at brenna
(ógnarstríðr) á Hallandssíðu
(ýta rann um stórlig stræti
storðar úlfr fyrir Glaumstein norðan).
The hound of the alder-tree [FIRE] threw sparks at the warm roof east of the Götaälv; then the high halls fell down at that sorrowful time in the Danes’ settlements. All the houses began to burn on the coast of Halland; the battle-harsh wolf of the land [FIRE] ran through the great streets of men north of Glaumsteinn.
12 Hrinda lét út herskips bröndum
hilmir frægr á saltan ægi;
eldi hrauð fyrir æsiköldum
unnar meið ór dregnum hlunni.
Almenningr varð út at sinna,
ógnar lundr, á þinni grundu;
mildir höfðu herboð höldar
harða sveld af Nóregsveldi.
The famous king had the prows of warships propelled out onto the salty sea; fire poured from the worn slipway before the terribly cold tree of the wave [SHIP]. All people in your land had to set out, tree of battle [WARRIOR]; the generous men had a very large conscripted army from the kingdom of Norway.
13 Errinn sendi ungan svarra
út í lönd á geima þrútinn;
aldri fréttuð jöfra dróttins
æðri ferð af heimangerðum.
Allir tóku yppiþollar
unnartams fyrir lægi sunnan
ára blakks, sem allvaldr væri
innan lands, við dóttur þinni.
The bold one sent the young, proud lady abroad onto the swollen ocean; never did you hear about a more outstanding retinue sent from home by a lord of princes [KING]. All the extolling fir-trees of the wave-tame horse of the oars [SHIP > SEAFARERS] south of the sea received your daughter as if she were a mighty ruler within the land.
14 Norðan heldu alt um öldur,
auðar lundr, við þik til fundar
— húfar treystu drifnar dúfur —
dygðarmenn ór Finna bygðum.
Svífa léztu ór hverju hrófi
hlaðnar skeiðr á vatnit breiða;
sandi jós um stálin steindu
storðar gandr fyrir Elfi norðan.
Tree of wealth [GENEROUS MAN], trusty men all the way from the north from the settlements of the Saami sailed across the waves to the meeting with you; the hulls tested the foaming waves. You let the heavily-laden warships glide from every boat-shed onto wide water; the wolf of the land [WIND] dashed sand over the painted prows north of the Götaälv.
15 Digla eldr var sénn í segli,
sviptilundr, á dýrðar skriptum
— rísa tóku roðnir hausar —
Rínar logs, yfir dreka þínum.
Unnar (þóttu eisur brenna
Ullar fars af slegnu gulli)
fasti rauð yfir flota glæstum
flesta rönd (á skeiðabröndum).
The fire of crucibles [GOLD] was seen on the figures of glory on the sail over your dragon-headed warship, flinging-tree of the flame of the Rhine <river> [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN]; the reddened heads began to rise. The fire of the wave [GOLD] reddened most of the shields above the adorned fleet; cinders seemed to burn from the hammered gold of the ship of Ullr <god> [SHIELD] on the warships’ prows.
16 Ærin, var, sem elding færi
(inn um borð) á lægi norðan,
(öldum varp) er húfum helduð,
hilmis kundr, til jörmungrundar.
Víða þurðu vísa ferðar
veglig flaust und búnu segli;
geiga létuð gyltar sýjur,
grundar vörðr, at Eyrarsundi.
It was as if a great flash of lightning travelled from the north across the sea, son of the ruler [= Hákon], when you brought the hulls to the vast land; waves were thrown in over the gunwale. Magnificent ships of the leader of the troop raced far and wide under the adorned sail; defender of the land [KING], you let gilded ships drift to Øresund.
17 Renna þótti upp á unnum
alla leið af flota breiðum
hilmis frægs, þar er herskip lágu,
himna eldr í Danaveldi.
Þengill kom þar annarr engi
innanlands, svát dæmi finniz,
— ræsir, stýrðuð rétt til jarðar,
ríkilátr — með afla slíkan.
The fire of the heavens [SUN] seemed to be rising up from the broad fleet of the famous ruler on the waves all the way to the realm of the Danes, where warships lay. No other prince came within the land there with such a force, to the extent that there are examples; high-minded ruler, you steered straight for the shore.
18 Öllum þótti, Egða stillir,
ægiligt, inn víða frægi,
gunnar logs fyrir græði sunnan
geigurþing við yðr at eiga.
Sætta báðu, Sygna dróttinn,
snjallráðan þik Danir allir,
fyrða gramr, þvít fegnir urðu
fjandmenn þínir lífi sínu.
Far-famed ruler of the Egðir [NORWEGIAN KING = Hákon], to everyone it seemed terrifying to hold a dangerous meeting of the flame of battle [SWORD > BATTLE] with you south of the sea. Lord of the Sygnir [NORWEGIAN KING = Hákon], all the Danes begged you, wise-ruling one, for a settlement, because your enemies were glad to save their lives, ruler of men [KING].
19 Ríða frák ór borgum breiðum
bragna fjölð — af þínu magni
víða glöddusk valskar þjóðir
varrar eld — í móti svarra.
Síðan kaus um sæmðarfúsa
snildarbrúðr, þann er eiga vildi,
öðlings bræðr, af yðru ráði
æztra manna göfugr svanni.
I heard that a multitude of men rode from broad cities towards the proud lady; the southern people rejoiced far and wide in the fire of the sea [GOLD] from your power. Then the eloquent bride chose amongst the brothers of the ruler, eager for honour, the one that the noble, proud lady wanted to have of the foremost of men according to your counsel.
20 Norðr líkar þér alt at auka
yðvart vald um heiminn kalda,
— gegnir munu því fyrðar fagna —
fjörnis álfr, und leiðarstjörnu.
Þengill hefr þar annarr engi,
allvaldr, en þú ríki haldit;
lengra reiða þjóðir þangat
þína dýrð, en röðull skíni.
It pleases you to increase your power, elf of the helmet [WARRIOR], around the cold world, all the way north under the North Star; reliable men will welcome that. No other prince but you, mighty ruler, has held power there; people will spread your glory in that direction further than the sun shines.
21 Allvaldr, dýrkaz út með Serkjum
innanlands af mildi þinni
— þjóðum líka þínir haukar
þaðra — alt með Blálands jaðri.
Víða hrjóta veglig mæti
vægðarlaust af yðrum frægðum;
hollar prýða heiminn allan
hnossir þínar, mærðar tínir.
Mighty ruler, you are worshipped for your generosity within the land among the Saracens all the way out along the coast of Africa; the people there like your hawks. Grand, precious things spread far and wide incessantly about your reputation; your valuable treasures adorn the whole world, gatherer of glory [KING].
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