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Runic Dictionary

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Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson (Hfr)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Diana Whaley;

1. Óláfsdrápa (Óldr) - 14

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ‘Troublesome-poet’ Óttarsson (Hfr) was brought up in Vatnsdalur, northern Iceland, probably in the 960s. He is the subject of Hallfreðar saga (Hallfr), which survives both as a continuous text (ÍF 8, 133-200) and interpolated into ÓT. The main strands of the saga are Hallfreðr’s unhappy relationship with Kolfinna Ávaldadóttir, his travels as trader, fighter and poet, his conversion to Christianity and his devotion to Óláfr Tryggvason, and all these aspects of his life occasioned poetry which partially survives.

Fragments of an early drápa for Hákon jarl Sigurðarson (r. c. 970-c. 995) are extant (Hfr HákdrIII; ÍF 8, 151), but the greater part of Hallfreðr’s court poetry, and the poetry edited in this volume, concerns King Óláfr Tryggvason (c. 995-c. 1000): Óláfsdrápa (Hfr Óldr) and Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar (Hfr ErfÓl). Like other Icelanders, Hallfreðr accepted Christian baptism under the influence of Óláfr. The difficulty, for a poet and pagan, of this switch of religious allegiance is the theme of Hfr Lv 6-10V, and is, according to the sagas, alluded to in his nickname vandræðaskáld, lit. ‘Poet of difficulties’. The sagas agree that the name was bestowed by the king, though they differ about the precise reason (ÓTOdd 1932, 125-6; Hkr, ÍF 26, 331-2; Hallfr, ÍF 8, 155; ÓT 1958-2000, I, 387). Hallfreðr is attributed with a lost Uppreistardrápa ‘Restoration drápa’ (?), supposedly composed to atone for his journey into pagan Gautland (Västergötland, ÍF 8, 178). He is also credited in Hallfr (ÍF 8, 194-5) with an encounter with Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson (r. c. 1000-c. 1014) and in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 257, 266, 280) with poetry for him; this is vestigially preserved in Eiríksdrápa (Hfr EirdrV). The saga also shows Hallfreðr presenting a flokkr to the Danish jarl Sigvaldi (ÍF 8, 168) and a poem to the Swedish king Óláfr Eiríksson (ÍF 8, 177-8), but no traces of these survive.

The marriage of Kolfinna, the love of Hallfreðr’s youth, to Gríss Sæmingsson provoked Hallfreðr both early and later in life to compose strikingly inventive stanzas which intertwine themes of yearning love and rivalry (Hfr Lv 1-3, 15-24V), and his níð against Gríss led to legal proceedings and indirectly to the killing of Hallfreðr’s brother Galti (Ldn, ÍF 1, 224; ÍF 8, 189-90). In the course of an adventure in Västergötland (Hfr Lv 12-14V), Hallfreðr met and married Ingibjǫrg Þórisdóttir, who died young, but not before bearing two sons, Auðgísl and Hallfreðr. According to Hallfr (ÍF 8, 196-9), Hallfreðr himself died at the age of nearly forty, from a combination of illness and injury as he sailed through the Hebrides; he was buried on Iona (cf. Hfr Lv 26-7V).

file 2002-03-21 - York Hfr paper notes
file 2002-03-27 - York Hfr paper draft

Óláfsdrápa (‘Drápa about Óláfr’) — Hfr ÓldrI

Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Óláfsdrápa’ 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. 387.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6 

for reference only:  1x   1y   2x   2y   4x   4y   8z   9z 

Skj: Hallfrøðr Óttarsson vandræðaskáld: 2. Óláfsdrápa, 996 (AI, 156-9, BI, 148-50); stanzas (if different): 1 | 2 | 2, 7 | 3 | 3, 4/1-4 | 4/1-4 | 4/5-8, 5 | 4/5-8 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8/1-4, 9/5-8 | 8/5-8, 9/1-4

SkP info: I, 393

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — Hfr Óldr 2I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


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.

 Kx hættr var hersa drottinn | hiordiarfr gota fiorvi | gullscerði fra ec gerþu | geirþey a Scáneyu. |   [KSH]  edit 
 Kx Bꜹðserkiar hio birki | barclꜹst i danmorco | hleypi meiðr fir heiða | hluɴviɢia bø suɴan   [KSH]  edit 
 39 Bøðserkiar hío birk[...] barc | laust idanmorco læypi meiðr fyr hæiþa | hluɴuiggia by suɴan.   [KSH]  edit 
 F hø̨ttr var hersa drottíɴ | hiordiarfr gota fíorvi gvllskerði fra ek geyrðo geír | þey a skán eýrí·   [VEÞ]  edit 
 F Bꜹðserkíar hio birki barklꜹst i dan mor | ko hleypí meiðr fyrir heiða hluɴviɢía bø̨ svɴan   [VEÞ]  edit 
 J1x hættr var hersa drottinn · hior | darfr gota fiorfi gullskerðer fra ek gerdu | geirþey a skaneyio   [KSH]  edit 
 J1x Bꜹðserkiar hio birki barkriodr i danmor | ku hleypi meiþr fir heiða hlun vigia fir by | sunnan.   [KSH]  edit 
 61 hættr var hersa | drottinn . hio᷎r diarfr gota fio᷎rvi . gullskerði fra ek gio᷎rðo . geír þey | ꜳ skaneyíu.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 61 Bauð serkiar hio birki . bark laust i danmo᷎rku | hleypi meiðr fyrir heiða . hlunn viggia by sunnan: ||   [VEÞ]  edit 
 53 hæ | ttr var hersa drotin · hiordiarfr gota fiorfi · gullskerdi fra | ek giordu geirþey a skꜳneyíu·   [VEÞ]  edit 
 54 hættr var hersa drottínn | hiordiarfr gota fioruí · gullskerdi frack giordv · ge | irþey a skaneyri ·   [KSH]  edit 
 54 Baudserkiar hio | birki · bark laust i danmorku · hleypi meídr firir | heida · hlunnueggia bv sunnan ·   [KSH]  edit 
 62 [...]tt[...]a drottínn | hiordiarfr gota fíorvi gvllsker[...] [...]k g[...]v | geírþey a skan eyío   [KSH]  edit 
 62 Bauðserkíar let birki barklaust j danmorko hleypi meidr | fir heida hlvnnvíggía by svnnan.   [KSH]  edit 
 Flat hęttr · hessa drottinn híor diarfr g | ota fíoruí gull skeyde fra ek geordu gæir þey ascaneyre ·   [KSH]  edit 
 Flat Baud | serkiar let bírke bark laust til danmarkar hleypí mœidr fir hei | da hlunnuiggia bœ sunnan   [KSH]  edit 
 FskBx Hættr var horða drottenn | hior diarfr gota fiorvi | gull skærði fra ec gerðo | gaird garðꝍy a skanꝍyiu | boð særkiar hio birki | barklaust i danmorku | læypi mæiðr firir heiða | lunn viggia bæ sunnann |   [KSH]  edit 
 FskAx Hættr var horða drottinn | hiordiarfr gota fiorvi | Gullskærði fra ec gerðo | geirð ey a skanꝍyio | boðsærkiar hio birke | barklaust i danmorku | lꝍypi mꝍyðrs firir heiða | hlunn viggia bꝍ sunnan   [KSH]  edit 
 310 Hǽttr var horða drottinn hiordiarfr gota fiorvi gull skerði fra ec ger | þu geir þey a scan eyio  bauð serkiar hio birki barklaust i danmor | ku hleypi meiðr firir heiða hlunn uiggia by sunnan. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 51x Hæítr var horða drotten | hiordíarfr gota fiorvi | gullskærði fra ec gerðo | garðo᷎y a skano᷎yiu | boð særkiar hio birki | barklaust i Danmorku. | læypi mæiðr firir heiða | lunnviggia bó sunnan.   [KSH]  edit 

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