Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson (Hfr)

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

1. Óláfsdrápa (Óldr) - 14

Skj info: Hallfrøðr Óttarsson vandræðaskáld, Islandsk skjald, død ved 1007. (AI, 155-73, BI, 147-63).

Skj poems:
1. Hákonardrápa
2. Óláfsdrápa
3. Óláfsdrápa, erfidrápa
4. Eiríksdrápa
5. Lausavísur

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.

 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, 398

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — Hfr Óldr 6I

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 eyddi ulfa greddir | ognbliþr scótum viða | gerþi seims með sverði | sverðleic i mꜹn scerðir | Ydrogar let ægir | eyverscan her deyia | týr var tiorva dýra | týargiarn ok íra |   [KSH]  edit 
 39 æyddi ulfa græddir ogbliðr skotum | viða gerði sæims m suerþi suerþlǽic imon | skerðir. Ydrogar læt ægir ǽyverskan her || dæyia tyr var tiorva dyra tiran giarnn ok ira |   [KSH]  edit 
 F eyddi vlfa greddir ogn bliðr | skótvm viða gerði seíms m sverði sverþ leik i mꜹn skerðir | Ydrógar let ø̨gir eyverskan her deyia · tyr var tiorva dyra tírar | gíarn ok íra ·   [VEÞ]  edit 
 J1x æydði vlfa greddir ognbliðr skotum viþa ger | þiz seims með sverþi sverþleik i mꜹɴ skerþiʀ | Ver drꜹgar let egir æy uerskan her deya tyr var tio | rfa bura tirar giarn ok ira   [KSH]  edit 
 61 eyddi | vlfa greddir ognbliðr skotum viða . gio᷎rði seíms m suerði sver | ð leik i maun skerðir. Ydrauga let ægir . eyverskan her deyia . tyr | var tio᷎rua dyra . tirar giarn ok íra .   [VEÞ]  edit 
 53 eyddi ulfa græddi · ógnblidr skotum vída · gior | di sueíms m sverdi · suerdleíks imaun skerdi· Y | drauga let ægir · eyverskan her deyia · tyʀ var tiorfa | dýrra · tirargiarn ok íra ·   [VEÞ]  edit 
 54 eyddi vlfna græddir · ognb | lidr skotum vida · giordi seíms med suerdi. suerd | leiks í maun skerdir · Ydrauga let ægir eyuerskan | her deyia · tyrr var tiorua dyra · tirar giarn ok ira |   [KSH]  edit 
 62 eyddi vlfa grǫddir ogn bliðr lidi vida gerði seims | m s[...]i sundleik i mvn skerdi   [KSH]  edit 
 Flat eydde ulfa bræddir ogn | blidr skípum uída georde sæíms m suerde sund leik muna grundar · |   [KSH]  edit 
 FskBx Gerði sæims með sværði | sværð læck i mon skærðir | æyddi ulfa græðir | ogn blyð skotom viða | y drauga let ꝍger | ꝍy værskann hærr dæya | tyr vann tiorvar dyrann | tignar giarn oc Jra   [KSH]  edit 
 FskAx Gerðe sæims meðr sværðe | sværð læic mon skærðir | eydde ulfa̋ gredder | øgnbliðr scotomviða | yðraugha let ꝍgher | ꝍverkann hærr dꝍyia | tyr var tiorvar dyra | tinar giarn oc ira   [KSH]  edit 
 310 Gerðisc sæims með suerði suerðleik i mon skerðir eyddi ulfa gro᷎d | dir ognbliðr scotum viða  ydrauga let o᷎gir ey uerscan her dey | ia . tyr var tiorva dyra tirar giarn oc ira. ||   [VEÞ]  edit 

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