Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorvaldr Hjaltason (ÞHjalt)

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

Lausavísur (Lv) - 2

Skj info: Þórvaldr Hjaltason, Islænder, deltog i Fyrisvoldslaget. (AI, 117, BI, 111).

Skj poems:

Little is known of this poet (ÞHjalt) beyond what is reported in the prose surrounding his two lausavísur (see Contexts below). Indeed, it is uncertain whether Þorvaldr was regarded as a poet, since Flat (1860-8, II, 73) adds after Lv 2 that he never composed before or since, so far as is known (a statement treated with scepticism by Finnur Jónsson, LH I, 543). A man of this name is recorded in Ldn (ÍF 1, 238, cf. also 282), where Þorvaldr and his brother Þórðr are the sons of Hjalti, the eponymous settler of Hjaltadalur (Skagafjörður, northern Iceland). They are depicted as impressive men and they feature in a number of sagas of Icelanders (Íslendingasögur), but it is not certain whether this Þorvaldr is the same as the poet (ÍF 1, 238 n. 2). The Þorvaldr in Ldn is not described as a skald, though the neighbourhood bred the poets Glúmr Geirason (Glúmr) and Oddr breiðfirðingr (ObreiðV), and Þorvaldr and Þórðr are the subject of Anon (Ldn) 4aIV.

Lausavísur — ÞHjalt LvI

Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þorvaldr Hjaltason, Lausavísur’ 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. 271.

 1   2 

Skj: Þórvaldr Hjaltason: Lausavísur, o. 985 (AI, 117, BI, 111)

in texts: Flat, Styrb

SkP info: I, 271

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


1 Fari* til Fýrisvallar,
folka tungls, hverrs hungrar,
vǫrðr, at virkis garði
vestr kveldriðu hesta.
Þar hefr hreggdrauga hǫggvit
— hóll*aust es þat — sólar
elfar skíðs fyr ulfa
Eirekr í dyn geira.
Guardian of the sun of battles [SWORD > WARRIOR], let every one of the horses of the evening-rider [TROLL-WOMAN > WOLVES] who is hungry go west to Fýrisvǫllr, to the enclosure of the stronghold. There Eiríkr has cut down the logs of the storm of the sun of the ski of the river [(lit. ‘storm-logs of the sun of the ski of the river’) SHIP > SHIELD > BATTLE > WARRIORS] before wolves in the tumult of spears [BATTLE]; that is without exaggeration.
2 Illr varð ǫlna fjalla
auðkveðjǫndum beðjar
til Svíþjóðar síðan
sveimr víkinga heiman.
Þat eitt lifir þeira,
— þeir hǫfðu lið fleira —
— gótt vas her at henda
Hundings — es rann undan.
The vikings’ surge from their home to Sweden turned out afterwards [to be] disastrous for the wealth-demanders of the bed of fish of the mountains [SNAKES > GOLD > MEN]. Only that part of them survives, that ran away; they had the more numerous force; it was good to catch Hundingr’s army.
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