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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 19 September 2021)

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, 918

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

18 — HSt Rst 18I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 18’ 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. 918.

Ǫrbragðs ærir lǫgðu
annat sinn at Linna
— grimmt varð Gǫndlar borða
gnaust — sextigum flausta.
Danskr herr dýran harra,
drótt hné mǫrg, þars sótti;
hirð fell; hrafnar gullu.
Hann vas ríkstr konungmanna.

{Ærir ǫrbragðs} lǫgðu annat sinn at Linna sextigum flausta; {gnaust {borða Gǫndlar}} varð grimmt. Mǫrg drótt hné, þars danskr herr sótti dýran harra; hirð fell; hrafnar gullu. Hann vas ríkstr konungmanna …

{The messengers of the arrow-flight} [WARRIORS] attacked Linni (‘Serpent’) a second time with sixty ships; {the noise {of the planks of Gǫndul <valkyrie>}} [SHIELDS > BATTLE] became fierce. Many a troop fell, where the Danish army attacked the precious ruler; the retinue fell; ravens shrieked. He was the mightiest of royal men …

Mss: Bb(112ra); 53(64ra), 54(63vb-64ra), 325VIII 2 b(1va-b), Bb(99va), Flat(64rb) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] ærir: so Flat, œrit Bb(112ra), 54, Bb(99va), ‘errir’ 53, ‘eirir’ 325VIII 2 b    [2] sinn at Linna: ‘o[…]’ 325VIII 2 b    [3] grimmt: borð 325VIII 2 b, grjót Flat;    varð: við 325VIII 2 b;    Gǫndlar: so 53, 54, 325VIII 2 b, ‘gvndlat’ Bb(112ra), Bb(99va), ‘gaunnlar’ Flat;    borða: ‘borð[…]’ 325VIII 2 b    [4] gnaust: ‘[…]aust’ 325VIII 2 b;    sextigum: lǫmðusk þar Flat    [5] herr dýran: ‘[…]rann’ 325VIII 2 b    [6] hné: ‘[…]’ 325VIII 2 b, hve Bb(99va);    mǫrg: ‘[…]g’ 325VIII 2 b;    sótti: so 53, 54, 325VIII 2 b, Flat, sóttu Bb(112ra), Bb(99va)    [7] hirð: hríð 54, Bb(99va);    fell: ‘[…]’ 325VIII 2 b;    hrafnar: ‘[…]fn(ar)’(?) 325VIII 2 b, hafnar Bb(99va);    gullu: gullri 325VIII 2 b    [8] vas (‘var’): er all others;    ríkstr: ‘rikzkzst’ 54, ‘rikzt[…]’ 325VIII 2 b;    konung‑: konungs 53, kóng 54, ‘[...]’ 325VIII 2 b;    ‑manna: ‘[...]’ 325VIII 2 b

Editions: Skj: Hallar-Steinn, 1. Rekstefja 18: AI, 547-8, BI, 529-30, Skald I, 257; ÓT 1958-2000, II, 265-6 (ch. 250), Flat 1860-8, I, 482; SHI 3, 256-7, CPB II, 298, Wisén 1886-9, I, 48, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 164, Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 248-51.

Context: The stanza is cited as a report of King Sveinn’s attack, with sixty ships, on Óláfr Tryggvason after Óláfr sœnski has retreated.

Notes: [2] Linna ‘Linni (“Serpent”)’: Taken here as acc. sg. of linni, referring to Óláfr’s longship Ormr inn langi ‘the Long Serpent’, mentioned by name in sts 15/5, 19/4, 21/4, 22/4, 23/4 (variant to drekinn), 29/8. It is not certain whether Linni is to be thought of as a name or a common noun here. For the skalds’ use of word-play when referring to this famous vessel, see Note to Hfr ErfÓl 10/1, and for the ship, see Note to Hókr Eirfl 3/4. Linna could also be acc. pl. of weak linni or strong linnr (also meaning serpent) and would then refer to Óláfr’s two ships Ormr inn langi and Ormr inn skammi ‘the Short Serpent’. — [5-6]: Unusually and awkwardly, the subject and object of the subordinate þars-clause precede both þars ‘where’ (cf. Gade 1995a, 177) and the main clause mǫrg drótt hné ‘many a troop fell’ (cf. Kuhn 1983, 190), but there is no obvious alternative. — [8]: For this line of the refrain, see Note to st. 9/8.

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