11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;
Lausavísur (Lv) - 11
III. Fragment (Frag) - 1
Sneglu-Halli (SnH) came from a poor family from Fljót near Svarfaðardalur in northern Iceland. The meaning of his nickname (Sneglu-) is unclear, but it could have referred to his slender stature (Flat 1860-8, III, 416; Finnur Jónsson 1907, 297) or to his irascibility (Andersson and Gade 2000, 442). In later literature he was given the nickname Grautar-Halli ‘Porridge-Halli’ because of his fondness for porridge (ÍF 9, cxii n. 1; ÞjóðA Lv 7). Around 1053 Halli arrived at King Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson’s court in Norway, and after a trip to Denmark and England he returned to Iceland, where he must have died prior to 1066. According to Flat, King Haraldr received the news of Halli’s death with the following comment (ÍF 9, 295): Á grauti myndi greyit sprungit hafa ‘The bitch must have burst with porridge’. Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 275) lists Halli as a court poet of Haraldr harðráði, and he is said to have composed a poem in his honour (ÍF 9, 275, 280). A half-st. in fornyrðislag metre (SnH FragIII) attributed to Halli in TGT (TGT 1884, 20, 80) has been assigned to that poem by some eds. See Introduction, SnH FragIII. Otherwise, only the lvv. below have been preserved of his poetic oeuvre, which is also said to have included Kolluvísur ‘the Cow’s Vísur’, a poem composed about cows in Iceland, and a panegyric to an Engl. earl (see SnE 1848-87, III, 599-604; LH 1894-1901, I, 635-7). In H, Hr and Mork, ÞjóðA Lv 8 is erroneously attributed to Halli (see Mork 1928-32, 238; Fms 6, 364).
Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Sneglu-Halli, 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. 323-32.
cross-references: 4 = Hharð Lv 9II
Skj: Sneglu- [Grautar-] Halli: 2. Lausavísur, o. 1054 (AI, 388-90, BI, 358-60)
in texts: Flat, H-Hr, Mork, Snegl
SkP info: II, 323-32
All of Halli’s lvv. (SnH Lv 1-11) are recorded in Sneglu-Halla þáttr (Snegl). The þáttr exists in two versions, a shorter version found in Mork and H-Hr (including Lv 1, 4-6), and a longer version in Flat, comprising all the lvv. and additional prose. Snegl appears to have been abbreviated in Mork, but the Mork version bears all the marks of being older than the Flat version, which may have incorporated later material concerning Halli (see ÍF 9, cix-cxii). For a discussion of the mss, see Introduction to Hharð Lv 9. AM 593b breaks off after Lv 4. AM 761 b 4°ˣ (761bˣ) is a copy of H here, and select variants from that ms. are given only for Lv 6, where H is now partly damaged. Lv 4 consists of a dialogue between Halli and Haraldr harðráði, with the two composing alternate ll. The st. has been printed in this vol. as Hharð Lv 9. In addition to Hharð Lv 9, Snegl also contains ÞjóðA Lv 5-8.