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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hallar-Steinn (HSt)

12th century; volume 1; ed. Rolf Stavnem;

III. Fragments (Frag) - 6

Skj info: Hallar-Steinn, Islandsk skjald, 12. årh. (AI, 543-53, BI, 525-35).

Skj poems:
1. Rekstefja
2. a. Af et digt om en kvinde
2. b. Af et digt om Skáldhelgi(?)

Nothing is known about this skald (HSt) except what can be deduced from his nickname, which has been identified with the farm-name Höll, in Þverárhlíð, Mýrasýsla, western Iceland (Finnur Jónsson 1907, 185), and from the poetry attributed to him. His main extant work is the drápa Rekstefja (HSt Rst), whose ambitious praise of Óláfr Tryggvason might well point to Iceland at the end of the twelfth century or somewhat later (see Skj, and Introduction to the poem below). Hallar-Steinn has been identified (e.g. by Wisén 1886-9, I, 143) with the eleventh-century poet Steinn Herdísarson (SteinnII), but this is implausible. HSt Frag 1, of uncertain origin but probably attributable to this poet, may also commemorate Óláfr Tryggvason, while HSt Frag 2-5III represent a love-lorn poet. These fragments are preserved only in treatises on poetics and grammar, and are therefore edited in SkP III, as are two further fragments, HSt Frag 6-7III.

Fragments — HSt FragIII

Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2017, ‘ Hallar-Steinn, Fragments’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 202. <> (accessed 25 June 2022)

 2   3   4   5   6   7 

Skj: Hallar-Steinn: 2. a. Af et digt om en kvinde (AI, 552-3, BI, 534-5); stanzas (if different): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

in texts: Gramm, LaufE, LaufE, Skm, SnE, TGT

SkP info: III, 202

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


2 Holmleggjar viðr hilmir
hring-Skǫglar mik þǫglan.
The ruler of the island-bone [ROCK > DWARF = Litr (litr ‘colour’)] of the ring-Skǫgul <valkyrie> [WOMAN] makes me silent.
3 Svalteigar mun selju
salts Víðblinda galtar
rafkastandi rastar
reyrþvengs muna lengi.
The thrower of the amber of the salty, cool meadow of the boar of Víðblindi <giant> [(lit. ‘amber-thrower of the salty, cool meadow of the boar of Víðblindi’) WHALE > SEA > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] will for a long time remember the willow of the path of the reed-thong [SNAKE > GOLD > WOMAN].
4 Þú munt, fúrs, sem fleiri,
flóðs hirði-Sif, tróður,
grǫnn, við gæfu þinni
grjóts Hjaðninga brjótask.
Slender guarding-Sif <goddess> of the fire of the sea [GOLD > WOMAN], you will struggle against your luck just like other poles of the stones of the Hjaðningar <Heðinn and his followers> [CORPSES > VALKYRIES].
5 Ek hef óðar lokri,
ǫlstafna, þér skafna,
væn mǫrk, — skala verki
vandr — stefknarrar branda.
I have smoothed the bows of the refrain-ship [DRÁPA > UPPHAF] for you with the plane of poetry [TONGUE], beautiful forest of ale-prows [DRINKING HORNS > WOMAN]; the poem should not be difficult.
6 Hart (fló hvast of snertu)
hregg magnaðisk, bragna
(bókar sól) þars búkar,
benvargs, hnigu margir.
The strong storm of the wound-wolf [SWORD > BATTLE] increased, where many bodies of men sank down; the sun of the book [COLOUR (steinn ‘stone’)] flew sharply in battle.
7 Flaug, en firnabjúgir,
foldar hnegg at seggjum,
fjarðelds fleygi-Nirðir
fellu skjótt at velli.
The heart of the earth [STONE] flew at men, and the overly stooping throwing-Nirðir <gods> of fjord-fire [GOLD > GENEROUS MEN] fell quickly on the field.
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