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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hallvarðr háreksblesi (Hallv)

11th century; volume 3; ed. Matthew Townend;

Knútsdrápa (Knútdr) - 8

Skj info: Hallvarðr háreksblesi, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 317-18, BI, 293-4).

Skj poems:
Knútsdrápa

Hallvarðr (Hallv) is an obscure figure, and the poem edited here is his only extant work. In Skáldatal he is listed once, amongst Knútr Sveinsson’s (r. 1018-35) poets (SnE 1848-87, III, 258, 267, 282), and he also appears to be mentioned only once in saga-sources, namely in Tómasskinna’s account of Knútr’s attempt to recruit Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld to his service (ÓH 1941, II, 803): Þormodr þackade honum fyrer bodit. enn kuozt eigi fær til ath ganga j stad haufud skalldanna er uerit haufdu med Knuti konungi. Þorarins loftungu eda Halluardz eda Ottars eda Sighuatz ‘Þormóðr thanked him for the invitation, but he said he was not able to take the place of the chief poets who had been with King Knútr: Þórarinn loftunga or Hallvarðr or Óttarr or Sigvatr’. The significance of Hallvarðr’s nickname, which is attributed to him in ÓH (ÓH 1941, I, 477), Hkr (ÍF 27, 311) and Knýtl (ÍF 35, 103), is unclear: blesi means ‘blaze (on a horse’s head)’ and the word occurs mostly as a masculine nickname, but who Hárekr was, and why Hallvarðr should be ‘Hárekr’s blaze’, is unknown (see Finnur Jónsson 1907, 170, 198 and Lind 1920-1, col. 136).

Knútsdrápa (‘Drápa about Knútr’) — Hallv KnútdrIII

Matthew Townend 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Hallvarðr háreksblesi, Knútsdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 230.

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Skj: Hallvarðr háreksblesi: Knútsdrápa (AI, 317-18, BI, 293-4); stanzas (if different): 4 | 5

in texts: Flat, Hkr, Knýtl, LaufE, ÓH, ÓHHkr, Skm, SnE

SkP info: III, 230

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Súðlǫngum komt Sveiða,
— sunds liðu dýr frá grundu —
sigrakkr, Sǫlsa bekkjar,
Sveins mǫgr, á trǫð hreinum.
Battle-bold son of Sveinn [= Knútr], you brought the long-planked reindeer of the bench of Sǫlsi <sea-king> [SEA > SHIPS] onto the path of Sveiði <sea-king> [SEA]; the animals of the sound [SHIPS] glided from land.
2 Vestr lézt í haf, hristir,
harðviggs, sikulgjarðar,
umbands allra landa,
íss, framstafni vísat.
Shaker of the ice of the sword-belt [SWORD > WARRIOR], you caused the fore-stem of the hard horse of the encircling band of all lands [SEA > SHIP] to be directed west across the sea.
3 Knútr, lézt framm til Fljóta
— frægr leið vǫrðr of ægi
heiptsnarr hildar leiptra —
harðbrynjuð skip dynja.
Ullar lézt við Ellu
ættleifð ok mô reifðir
sverðmans snyrtiherðir
sundviggs flota bundit.
Knútr, you caused your hard-armoured ships to rush forward to Fljót; the famous, battle-bold guardian of the lightnings of battle [SWORDS > WARRIOR] glided across the sea. Splendid strengthener of Ullr’s <god’s> sea-horse [SHIP > SHIELD > WARRIOR], you had your fleet moored in the patrimony of Ælla [= England], and you gladdened the gull of the sword-girl [VALKYRIE > RAVEN/EAGLE].
4 Rauðljósa sér ræsir
(rít brestr sundr in hvíta)
baugjǫrð brodda ferðar
(bjúgrend) í tvau fljúga.
The impeller of the journey of missiles [BATTLE > WARRIOR] sees the bright red ring-land [SHIELD] split in two; the white, curve-edged shield bursts apart.
5 Grund liggr und bǫr bundin
breið holmfjǫturs leiðar
— heinlands hoddum grandar
Hǫðr — eitrsvǫlum naðri.
The broad land, surrounded by the poison-cold serpent <Miðgarðsormr>, lies under the tree of the path of the island-fetter [SERPENT > GOLD > MAN = Knútr]; the Hǫðr <god> of the whetstone-land [SWORD > WARRIOR] harms hoards.
6 Englandi ræðr yngvi
einn — hefsk friðr at beinni —
bǫðrakkr bœnar nǫkkva
barkrjóðr ok Danmǫrku.
Ok hefr (odda Leiknar)
jalm-Freyr und sik malma
(hjaldrǫrr haukum þverrir
hungr) Nóregi þrungit.
The king, the battle-bold reddener of the bark of the ship of prayer [(lit. ‘bark-reddener of the ship of prayer’) BREAST > MAIL-SHIRT > WARRIOR], alone rules England and Denmark; peace commences the more easily. And the Freyr <god> of the noise of weapons [(lit. ‘noise-Freyr of weapons’) BATTLE > WARRIOR] has forced under him Norway; the battle-eager one diminishes hunger for the hawks of the Leikn <giantess> of spears [VALKYRIE > RAVENS/EAGLES].
7 Esat und jarðar hǫslu
— orðbrjótr Dǫnum forðar
moldreks — munka valdi
mæringr an þú nærri.
There is not a prince under the hazel of the earth [= Yggdrasill] closer to the ruler of monks [= God] than you; the breaker of the speech of the soil-ruler [(lit. ‘speech-breaker of the soil-ruler’) GIANT > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] protects Danes.
8 Knútr verr jǫrð sem ítran
alls dróttinn sal fjalla.
Knútr defends the earth as the lord of all [= God] [defends] the splendid hall of the mountains [HEAVEN].
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