Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Tindr Hallkelsson (Tindr)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Russell Poole;

Hákonardrápa (Hákdr) - 11

Skj info: Tindr Hallkelsson, Islandsk skjald, d. efter 1015. (AI, 144-7, BI, 136-9).

Skj poems:
1. Drape om Hakon jarl
2. Lausavísur

Tindr Hallkelsson (Tindr), an Icelander, was born around the middle of the tenth century and belonged to the illustrious family of Gilsbekkingar; he bore the nickname inn frœkni ‘the Brave’ (Finnur Jónsson 1886b, 309-10). His father occupied a property called Hallkelsstaðir, according to Harðar saga Grímkelssonar (ÍF 13, 96). Ldn (ÍF 1, 82-3) mentions him as a brother of the chieftain Illugi svarti ‘the Black’ at Gilsbakki, thus paternal uncle of the poet Gunnlaugr ormstunga ‘Serpent-tongue’ (GunnlIV), as noted in Gunnlaugs saga (ÍF 3, 58; cf. ÍF 13, 138). He was also a fifth-generation descendant of the skald Bragi Boddason (BragiIII; ÍF 1, 82) and great-grandfather of Gísl Illugason (GíslII; ÍF 1, 111; cf. ÍF 3, 331). His skills as a poet within this skaldic lineage are discussed by de Vries (1964-7, I, 178). His daughters Jóreiðr and Hallveig and son Þorvaldr are mentioned in Ldn (ÍF 1, 108, 137, 111 respectively); the name of a wife, if any, is not recorded.

Little is known about Tindr’s life and career, the fullest source being the incompletely preserved and historically unreliable Heiðarvíga saga (Heið). Ldn (ÍF 1, 83) notes his part in avenging the death of his brother, perhaps early in his adult life before his time in Norway. Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 256, 280) includes him among the poets affiliated to Hákon jarl Sigurðarson. Both Fsk (‘A’ redaction only, ÍF 29, 131) and the version of Jvs in ms. 510 (Jvs 1879, 82) show him fighting on Hákon’s side at the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen, c. 985) (cf. Finnur Jónsson 1886b, 309) and as having composed Hákonardrápa, his main surviving work, as a detailed narrative on that theme, probably shortly after the action (LH I, 536). There are no reliable reports of his serving other rulers. The statement in Harðar saga (ÍF 13, 36) that places him in Norway as early as the reign of Haraldr gráfeldr ‘Grey-cloak’ (c. 961-c. 970) can be dismissed on chronological grounds (LH I, 536; ÍF 13, 96 n. 4). After his return to Iceland Tindr played a prominent role in the famous Heiðarvíg ‘Battle of the heath’ (c. 1015), as reported in Heið (ÍF 3, 298). The saga (ÍF 3, 307) includes two lausavísur spoken by him as he lies severely wounded in the battle (Tindr Lv 1-2V (Heið 14-15)); his death apparently followed shortly afterwards.

Hákonardrápa — Tindr HákdrI

Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa’ 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. 336.

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Skj: Tindr Hallkelsson: 1. Drape om Hakon jarl, o. 987 (AI, 144-7, BI, 136-8)

in texts: Hkr, Jvs, ÓT, ÓTC, Skm, SnE

SkP info: I, 336

notes: Group should really be A1

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Varða, gims sem gerði
Gerðr bjúglimum herða
— gnýr óx Fjǫlnis fúra —
farlig sæing jarli,
þás hringfôum Hanga
hrynserk Viðurr brynju
— hruðusk riðmarar Róða
rastar — varð at kasta.
It did not come about as if an attractive Gerðr <goddess> of the fire [WOMAN] made a bed for the jarl with her curving branches of the shoulders [ARMS] — the din of the fires of Fjǫlnir <= Óðinn> [SWORDS > BATTLE] increased —, when the Viðurr <= Óðinn> of the mail-shirt [WARRIOR = Hákon] had to throw off his ring-depleted clanging shirt of Hangi <= Óðinn> [MAIL-SHIRT]; the riding horses of the path of Róði <sea-king> [SEA > SHIPS] were cleared.
2 Gatat óhræðinn œðra
(oddgaldrs) ok Sigvaldi
(vítt frák veiti-Njóta*)
viðrnám Búi (kvômu),
áðr mótrǫðuls mœttu
magnendr Gymis vagna
— sǫng at sverða þingi
sárla — þrœnzkum jarli.
The fearless Búi and Sigvaldi did not receive more distinguished opposition — I heard the proffering Njótar <= Óðinn’s> of the point-chant [BATTLE > WARRIORS] came from afar — before the empowerers of the clash of the sun of the wagons of Gymir <sea-giant> [(lit. ‘empowerers of the clash-sun of the wagons of Gymir’) SHIPS > SHIELD > BATTLE > WARRIORS] met the Trøndelag jarl [Hákon]; it sang grievously at the assembly of swords [BATTLE].
3 Dreif at Viðris veðri
— vargr gleypti ná margan —
— varð auðfundit virð*i
valgagls — þinurs hagli,
þars í sundr á sandi
Sǫrla blés fyr jarli
(þess hefr seggja sessi)
serk hringofinn (merki).
The hail of the bow [ARROWS] pelted in the storm of Viðrir <= Óðinn> [BATTLE] — the wolf swallowed many a corpse; the meal of the slaughter-goose [RAVEN/EAGLE > CORPSES] was easily found —, where the ring-woven shirt of Sǫrli <legendary hero> [MAIL-SHIRT] was blasted apart on the sand before the jarl; the benchmate of men [RULER = Hákon] bears the marks of this.
4 Vann á Vinða sinni
verðbjóðr Hugins ferðar
(beit sólgagarr seilar)
sverðs eggja spor (leggi),
áðr hjǫrmeiðar hrjóða
(hætting vas þat) mætti
(leiðar) langra skeiða
(liðs) halfan tøg þriðja.
The offerer of the meal of the flock of Huginn <raven> [(lit. ‘meal-offerer of the flock of Huginn’) RAVENS > CORPSES > WARRIOR = Hákon] made trails of the edges of the sword [WOUNDS] on the company of the Wends — the dog of the sun of the strap [(lit. ‘sun-dog of the strap’) SHIELD > SWORD] bit limbs — before sword-trees [WARRIORS] could clear twenty-five long warships; that was a menace for the army of the fleet.
5 Fór*at jarl — en ára
*endr hermǫrum kenndi
Gǫndlar dóm* — at glaumi
geirs tírarfǫr meiri,
unz þás hrauð, en Hrauðnis,
hjaldrs, ræsik þat gjǫldum,
†nunnar fús á mæti†
meiðr víkinga skeiðar.
The jarl did not make a greater expedition of glory in the revelry of the spear [BATTLE] — and he again taught the war-horses of oars [SHIPS] the judgement of Gǫndul <valkyrie> [BATTLE] — until the time when the tree of battle [WARRIOR = Hákon] cleared the warships of the vikings … , and I declare that in the recompenses of Hrauðnir <giant> [POETRY].
6 Gjǫrðusk — Gǫndlar borða
glaumr óx þar at * Naumu —
auði grimms at eyðask
ǫll lǫnd Dana brandi.
Kennt hefr heggr at hǫggva
hræ*birtinga sævar
veðreggjǫndum viggja*
vegg*s niðr of þat skeggi.
All the lands of the one hostile to riches [Hákon] came to be laid waste with the sword of the Danes; the revelry of the planks of Gǫndul <valkyrie> [SHIELDS > BATTLE] increased there at Nauma. The bird-cherry of the corpse-trout [SWORDS > WARRIOR = Hákon] has taught the inciters of the weather of the wall of the horses of the sea [(lit. ‘weather-inciters of the wall of the horses of the sea’) SHIPS > SHIELD > BATTLE > WARRIORS] to hit down with their beards on account of that.
7 Saddi jarl, þars odda
ofþing saman gingu,
(vann Hanga vals hungri)
hrafna (byrgis nafni).
Morðskýja* varð mávi
Mistar gótt til vista
heiðins dóms at háða
hríð v markar síðu.
The jarl sated the ravens, where the mighty assemblies of barbs [BATTLES] came together; the namesake of the protector [= Hákon] overcame the hunger of the falcon of Hangi <= Óðinn> [RAVEN]. It became good for provisions for the seagull of Mist <valkyrie> [RAVEN/EAGLE] by the coast of the forest of heathendom [NORWAY] after the storm of killing-clouds [SHIELDS > BATTLE] [was] waged.
8 Þá* veit ǫld, meðan aldir,
Yggs, Þriðja man byggva,
gnótt þess’s gǫglum veitti,
gæfs Hôkunar ævi.
Því hykk †bitrum beita
bǫnd at vildu landi
hykk ‘lar eide’ lýða
lætr hverjum gram betri.†
People will know about the life of generous Hákon, who supplied plenty to the geese of Yggr <= Óðinn> [RAVENS], as long as generations inhabit the maiden of Þriði <= Óðinn> [= Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘land’)]. For this reason I think …
9 Hrauð, en Hroptr of náði
hjaldrskýja val nýjum,
— þar vas lind* fyr landi —
leiðangr Dana skeiðar.
The fleet cleared the warships of the Danes, and the Hroptr <= Óðinn> of battle-clouds [SHIELDS > WARRIOR = Hákon] gained new carnage; a shield [defence] was placed off the coast there.
10 Þás fyr borð á barða
* bǫðvar fangs at ganga
veðrmagnanda Viðris
virðendr Búa kenndu.
Mikinn gerði herr hjǫrva
hljóm*; runnu þá sunnan
bauga skeiðr at breiðu
Baldrs Hôkunar valdi.
When the guardians of the tunic of battle [MAIL-SHIRT > WARRIORS] on the ship taught the strengthener of the storm of Viðrir <= Óðinn> [(lit. ‘storm-strengthener of Viðrir’) BATTLE > WARRIOR], Búi, to go overboard. The army made a great tumult of swords [BATTLE]; the warships of the Baldr <god> of rings [MAN] then ran from the south towards the wide domain of Hákon.
11 Undr es þreytt, ef, Þundi,
þann kenndi val,’s sendir
golls samnaði, gumna
Goðmarr hræum fjarri.
A marvel is hard-won, if Gullmaren, remote from the corpses, saw the slain warriors [lit. slain of men] that the dispatcher of gold [GENEROUS MAN = Hákon] assembled for Þundr <= Óðinn>.
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