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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hjǫrtr (Hjǫrtr)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Lausavísur (Lv) - 3

Skj info: Hjǫrtr, Islænder, 11. årh. (AI, 403, BI, 372-3).

Skj poems:

Very little is known about Hjǫrtr (which, if translated, would mean ‘Deer’). According to Hemings þáttr Áslákssonar (Hem in Hr and Hb), he was an Icelander who was sent by Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson as an envoy to Russia in 1065-6 to retrieve a bag of goatskin filled with gold which Haraldr had left with his wife, Ellisif (Elizabeth) (see Hb 1892-6, 331-3; Fellows Jensen 1962, 37-9). He is also mentioned in the first part of the þáttr in Flat, where his patronymic is given as Óláfsson (Flat 196-8, III, 401). Because that information is lacking in the other versions (see Fellows Jensen 1962, 1), it is likely a Flat innovation.

Lausavísur — Hjǫrtr LvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Hjǫrtr, Lausavísur’ 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. 344-7. <> (accessed 24 June 2022)

 1   2   3 

Skj: Hjǫrtr: Lausavísur, 1066 (AI, 403, BI, 372-3)

in texts: Hb, Hem

SkP info: II, 344-7

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


The three sts (Hjǫrtr Lv 1-3) in tøglag ‘journey metre’ (st. 1; see SnSt Ht 69III; SnE 1999, 29-30) and fornyrðislag (sts 2-3) are found in AM 326 b 4°ˣ (326bˣ), Ásgeir Jónsson’s copy (c. 1700) of Hb, which now has a lacuna here. They were all recited at Haraldr’s court on the same occasion. The episode is also told in the Hr version of Hem (Hr at 95va; Fellows Jensen 1962, 37-8), which breaks off after Hjǫrtr has recited the first st. The st. itself is not given in Hr, which reports (Fellows Jensen 1962, 38): þa kuad Hiorttur uisu og <er> henni uar lokit m(ællti) kongur ‘Then Hjǫrtr recited a stanza and when it was finished, the king said’. The sts appear to incite Haraldr to invade England, but Lv 2, which seems to be a nursery rhyme, casts doubts on their authenticity. None of the lvv. can be assigned a firm date based on metrical or linguistic criteria.
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