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Runic Dictionary

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Hallar-Steinn (HSt)

12th century; volume 1; ed. Rolf Stavnem;

1. Rekstefja (Rst) - 35

Nothing is known about this skald (HSt) except what can be deduced from his nickname, which has been identified with the farm-name Höll, in Þverárhlíð, Mýrasýsla, western Iceland (Finnur Jónsson 1907, 185), and from the poetry attributed to him. His main extant work is the drápa Rekstefja (HSt Rst), whose ambitious praise of Óláfr Tryggvason might well point to Iceland at the end of the twelfth century or somewhat later (see Skj, and Introduction to the poem below). Hallar-Steinn has been identified (e.g. by Wisén 1886-9, I, 143) with the eleventh-century poet Steinn Herdísarson (SteinnII), but this is implausible. HSt Frag 1, of uncertain origin but probably attributable to this poet, may also commemorate Óláfr Tryggvason, while HSt Frag 2-5III represent a love-lorn poet. These fragments are preserved only in treatises on poetics and grammar, and are therefore edited in SkP III, as are two further fragments, HSt Frag 6-7III.

Rekstefja (‘Split-refrain’) — HSt RstI

Rolf Stavnem 2012, ‘ Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja’ 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. 893. <> (accessed 23 January 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35 

Skj: Hallar-Steinn: 1. Rekstefja (AI, 543-52, BI, 525-34); stanzas (if different): 3 | 4 | 5

SkP info: I, 909

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

11 — HSt Rst 11I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 11’ 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. 909.

Ísland éla skyndir
ítr lista vann kristnat
gollmildr Grœnaveldi
Gǫndlar þey*s ok Eyjar.
Handvíst Hjalta grundar
hann sem Nóregs manna
hôttu hilmir bœtti.
Hollr ok fremstr at ǫllu.

{Gollmildr skyndir {éla {þey*s Gǫndlar}}}, ítr lista, vann kristnat Ísland, Grœnaveldi ok Eyjar. Hann, hilmir, bœtti handvíst hôttu manna Nóregs sem {grundar Hjalta}. Hollr ok fremstr at ǫllu …

{The gold-generous hastener {of the storms {of the thawing wind of Gǫndul <valkyrie>}}} [BATTLE > ARROWS > WARRIOR], splendid in accomplishments, made Iceland, Greenland and the Isles [Orkney] Christian. He, the ruler, improved most certainly the way of life of the people of Norway as well as {of the land of the Shetlanders} [= Shetland]. Faithful and foremost in all things …

Mss: Bb(111vb) (ÓT)

Readings: [4] Gǫndlar: ‘gvnnlar’ Bb;    þey*s: ‘þeyrs’ Bb

Editions: Skj: Hallar-Steinn, 1. Rekstefja 11: AI, 546, BI, 527-8, Skald I, 257, NN §2094; SHI 3, 250-1, CPB II, 297, Wisén 1886-9, I, 47, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 164, Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 221-3.

Notes: [1, 4] skyndir éla þey*s Gǫndlar ‘hastener of the storms of the thawing wind of Gǫndul <valkyrie> [BATTLE > ARROWS > WARRIOR]’: (a) The minor emendation of þeyrs to þeys produces an acceptable kenning structure, with þeys Gǫndlar ‘of the thawing wind of Gǫndul [BATTLE]’ as the determinant of a kenning for ‘arrows’ or ‘arrow-showers’ (cf. SnE 1998, I, 67 for kennings for missiles based on terms referring to precipitation such as hagl ‘hail’). (b) Since þeyr ‘thawing wind’ and él ‘storm’ can both function as the base-word of a battle-kenning, this kenning could be seen as overloaded, and Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) seems to regard éla ‘storms’ as a redundant element in the battle-kenning éla Gǫndlar þeys ‘the storms of Gǫndul’s thawing wind’ rather than being an independent kenning element. There is a possible parallel to this in the use of hríð ‘storm’ in st. 34/6, 7 (see Note). — [3] Grœnaveldi ‘Greenland’: Lit. ‘Green realm’, a play on the usual name Grœn(a)land. — [4] Eyjar ‘the Isles’: That Orkney is meant is suggested by external historical sources (cited by Konráð Gíslason 1895-7), and the reference to Shetland in l. 5; Eyjar also refers to Orkney, e.g., in TorfE Lv 2/3, Anon Óldr 12/2. — [5] handvíst ‘most certainly’: Lit. ‘hand certainly’, a cpd adj. used adverbially. Although rare, it occurs in Sjórs Lv 3/6II. — [6, 7] hann, hilmir ‘he, the ruler’: Apposition is relatively common in Rst, and the use of the pron. hann in apposition is paralleled in the refrain (Hann, Óláfr): see Note to st. 9/8. — [8]: For this line of the refrain, see Note to st. 9/8.

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