Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Óttarr svarti (Ótt)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Matthew Townend;

1. Hǫfuðlausn (Hfl) - 20

Skj info: Óttarr svarti, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 289-99, BI, 267-75).

Skj poems:
Lausavísur
1. Óláfsdrápa sœnska
2. Hǫfuðlausn
3. Knútsdrápa

The Icelandic poet Óttarr svarti ‘the Black’ (Ótt) was remembered in the twelfth century (ESk Geisl 12) as one of the hǫfuðskǫld ‘chief skalds’ of the late Viking Age. His nickname would seem to locate him within the tradition of poets being ‘dark’ in either appearance or temperament (see Clunies Ross 1978b; Finlay 2000). According to Styrmir Kárason (ÓH 1941, II, 688), the poet Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv) was a mikill vinr ‘great friend’ of Óttarr, and indeed Óttarr’s Hǫfuðlausn (Ótt Hfl) is greatly indebted to Sigvatr’s Víkingarvísur (Sigv Víkv, see Introduction to Hfl). Snorri Sturluson (ÍF 27, 144; ÓH 1941, I, 203) further describes Óttarr as Sigvatr’s maternal nephew, and if this is correct he would have been the grandson of Þórðr Sigvaldaskáld ‘Poet of Sigvaldi’ (see Biography of Sigvatr Þórðarson). Óttarr features in the various sagas of Óláfr Haraldsson, but the only major anecdote about him is the story surrounding his Hfl (see Introduction).

Skáldatal, in one or both of its recensions (SnE 1848-87, III, 252, 253, 258, 260, 261, 267, 269), lists Óttarr as having composed for six patrons: the Danes Sveinn tjúguskegg ‘Fork-beard’ Haraldsson and his son Knútr inn ríki Sveinsson (Cnut the Great); Óláfr sœnski ‘the Swede’ Eiríksson and his son Ǫnundr Óláfsson; and the Norwegian King Óláfr inn helgi Haraldsson (S. Óláfr), and the Norwegian magnate Dala-Guðbrandr (‘Guðbrandr of the Dales’, on whom, see ÍF 27, 183-90; ÓH 1941, I, 271-82). For Sveinn and Dala-Guðbrandr, Óttarr is the only poet listed in Skáldatal. Panegyric poetry by Óttarr is certainly extant for three of these patrons: Óláfsdrápa (ÓldrIII) for Óláfr Eiríksson (preserved only in SnE and therefore edited in SkP III), Hfl for Óláfr Haraldsson, and Knútsdrápa (Knútdr) and Lv 2 for Knútr. It has, moreover, been suggested that one stanza in Knútdr may have been misplaced from an earlier poem for Sveinn (see Note to st. 9 [All]). No poetry survives for Ǫnundr or Dala-Guðbrandr. From all the evidence, it is likely that Óttarr visited, and composed, for, his patrons in this order: Sveinn until his death in 1014; Óláfr Eiríksson until his death c. 1021 (though ÓHLeg 1982, 130-1, has Óttarr, a young man fresh from Iceland, approaching him as his first patron), then his son Ǫnundr; Óláfr Haraldsson in the early 1020s, and Dala-Guðbrandr in the same period; Knútr by c. 1027 for an unknown period (Knútr died in 1035). For previous discussions of Óttarr’s career, see SnE 1848-87, III, 326-33, LH I, 574-7 and Poole (1993b).

Hǫfuðlausn (‘Head-ransom’) — Ótt HflI

Matthew Townend 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Óttarr svarti, Hǫfuðlausn’ 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. 739.

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Skj: Óttarr svarti: 2. Hǫfuðlausn, o. 1023 (AI, 290-6, BI, 268-72); stanzas (if different): 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20

in texts: FGT, Flat, Fsk, Gramm, Hkr, Knýtl, Orkn, ÓH, ÓHHkr, ÓHLeg, ÓHÆ, Skm, SnE

SkP info: I, 739

notes: incomplete list of mss

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

Note: The following transcriptions have been entered to aid the editing process. These may not have been fully reviewed and checked and may therefore not be reliable. You may wish to consult the manuscript images. Any corrections can be notified to the database editor.

1. Tóm - 122r/30-122r/32
Hlyð mann gaufugur mínne ∙ myrck bals þviat ec kann yr | ckia finnum yðr ok annan ∙ alvalldr konung fallinn ∙ þat tel ec grams ok gauta ∙ gl | að sistanda mistag dauglings verck ath dyrcka dyr þeíngill mic leíngí ∙
2. R - 33r/5-33r/6
Goð meɴis þarf ec gvɴar gvllz brivtan | da at niota her er alneɴinn iɴi iɴdrott með gram viɴvm . |
A - 10r/25-10r/27 (VEÞ)
Goð mænnis þarf | ek gvnnar gloðbriotanda at nióta hann ær alnænnin inni inndrótt mæð | gram svínnvm .
3. Kx - 220r/17-220r/24
Ungr hraztu a vit vengis | vígrackr konungr blacki | þu hefir dyrom þrek drǫra | danmarcar þic vandan | varð nytliguzt norðan | nu ert ríkr af hvǫt slicri | fra ec til þess er fórut | for þin konung gerva |
4. Kx - 220v/4-220v/11
Auttuð árom skreyttum | ꜹstr i sallt með flꜹstom | baruð lind af landi | landvo᷎rðr a scip randir | neyttuð segls ok settuð | sundvarpaði stondom | sleít mioc roin micla | morg ár vnd þer báror |
5. R - 38v/8-38v/9
Skarvt skꜹpnv styri skavt sylg har bylgivr léc við | hvn ahreini hlvɴz þar er droser spvɴv .
A - 13v/5-13v/6 (VEÞ)
Skarvt skǫfnv styri skꜹt sylg hár bylgivr læk v hv́n | a hreíni hlvnz þat ær drosir spvnnv .
6. Kx - 220v/13-220v/16
Drott var driugligr otti | dolg liɴz at fǫr þiɴ | svanbræþir namtu siþan | sviþioðar nes rioða |
7. Kx - 222r/22-222v/2
Gilldir comtu at gialldi | gotnescom her flotna | þorðut þer at varða | þioðlꜹnd firar rꜹndo | raɴ eɴ maðr um miɴa | margr byr um þrec varga || hungr fra ec ꜹstr hiɴ yngvi | eysyslo liþ þeyia |
8. Kx - 226r/6-226r/13
Eɴ brꜹztu ela keɴir |yɢs veðr þoriɴ bryɢior | linnz hefir lꜹnd at viɴa | lunduna þer snúnað | hꜹfþo hart um krafðir | hilldr óx v þat skilldir | gang eɴ gamlir sprungo | guɴþinga jarn hringar |
9. Kx - 226v/20-226v/27
Þengill fra ec at þunga | þiɴ heʀ scipom feʀi | rꜹð hringmara heiði | hloð valcꜹsto bloþi | lꜹt fyr yðr aðr leti | landfólc i gny randa | engla ferð at jorðo | ott eɴ morg a flótta ||
10. Kx - 227r/12-227r/19
Atgongu vanntu yngvi | ætt siclinga micla | bliþr hilmir rꜹðtu breiða | borg kantara um morgin | lec v rꜹɴ af riki | reðtu bragna conr gagni | alldar fra ec at alldri | eldr ok reykr at þu belldir |
11. Kx - 227v/19-227v/26
Mattið enscrar ættar | ǫlld þar er tóct v gioldom | vísi vægðar lꜹsom | víþ frǫgr v þer bægia | guldut gumnar sialdar | goll dꜹglingi holluz | stundum fra ec til strandar | stór þing ofan foro | |
12. Kx - 229r/24-229r/27
ɴaþut ungr at eyða | ógnteitr jofuʀ peito | reyndut rǫsir steinda | rꜹnd a tuscalandi |
13. Kx - 226r/15-226r/22
Comtu i land ok lendir | láðvorðr aðalraði | þin nꜹt recka rúni | riki efldr at slico | harðr var fundr sa er fǫrðut | friðlandz a vit niðia | reð átstuðill aþan | jatmundar þar grundo |
14. Kx - 233v/26-234r/4
Valfasta bíottu vestan | veðr ǫʀ tvá knoʀo | hætt hafit er i ótta | opt sciolldunga þopti || næði strꜹmr ef stǫði | strangr cꜹpscipom angra | iɴan borðz a uɴom | eʀingar liþ verra |
15. Kx - 234r/6-234r/13
Eigi ræðuz ægi | er forut sia stóran | allvaldr um getr alldar | engi nytri drengi | opt varð fars en forsi | flꜹst ratt af ser brǫttum | neytt aðr noreg beittuð | niðiungr haraldz miðian |
16. Kx - 234v/26-235r/4
Blá gioða toctu bræðir | bengialfrs ok þa sialfa | scatte gnǫgðr með screytto | sceið Haconar reiði || ungr sottir þu þrottar | þings ma greɴir hingat | mattið jarl þꜹ er attuð | áttlꜹnd firer þvi standa |
321x - 39/22-39/25 (VEÞ)
Bia gióða toktu beidir. bengialfr sie þa | sialfa. skatti gno᷎gðr med skreyttu. skeid haconar reiði. vngr so᷎ttir | þu þrottar. þings magre.nnir hingat. mattit iarl þau er attut ættland | fyrir þer standa. ||
17. Kx - 281v/8-281v/15
Lytande hefir lioto | landz raþꜹndom branda | vmstillíngar allar | ifla follz vm golldit | hafa lézto heimsca jofra | herscorðandi forðom | muɴdangs lꜹn þa er meinom | mætr gramr við þic sæto |
18. Kx - 281v/16-281v/23
Brꜹt hafit bꜹðvar þreytir | branda rioðr or landi | meiʀ faɴz þiɴ eɴ þeira | þrecr dꜹlinga recna | stꜹck sem þioð um þeckir | þer hveʀ konungr ferri | heptuð ér en eptir | orðreyr þes er sat norðast |
19. Kx - 281v/24-282r/3
ɴu ræðr þu fyr þere | þic remmir guð miclo | folld er forðum helldo | v bragningar gagni | breið ero ꜹstr til eiða || ætt lꜹnd und þer gꜹndlar | eingr sat ellda þreyngvir | aðr at slico laðe |
20. Kx - 329v/22-330r/2
Gegn ero þer at þegnom | þioð scioldunga goðra | halldit hæft a velldi | hialltleɴdingar keɴdir | engi varð a jorðu | ognbráþr aþr þer náðum || ꜹstr sa er eyiom vestan | ynglingr und sic þryngvi |
A - 15v/4-15v/6 (VEÞ)
Ængi | varð a iǫrðv ognbráðr aðr þer naðvm ꜹstr sa ær æyrvm væstan ø̨ðlingr vnd sik | þryngi .
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