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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 7 December 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, 905

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — HSt Rst 8I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 8’ 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. 905.

Haukjóðs harða víða
(hôtt) norrœnar dróttir*
(Þundregns þeim of vandak)
þengils á bý gengu.
Óráð illri þjóðu
Óláfr of galt dála;
vígrunnr velja kunni
víkingum hlut slíkan.

Norrœnar dróttir* gengu harða víða á {bý {haukjóðs}} þengils; of vandak þeim hôtt {Þundregns}. Óláfr of galt dála illri þjóðu óráð; {vígrunnr} kunni velja víkingum slíkan hlut.

Norwegian troops placed themselves very widely in {the homestead {of the hawk-offspring}} [HAWK > HAND] of the ruler; I fashion for him the metre {of Þundr’s <= Óðinn’s> rain} [POETRY]. Óláfr thoroughly paid evil people for their misdeeds; {the battle-tree} [WARRIOR] was able to deal vikings such a fate.

Mss: Bb(111vb) (ÓT)

Readings: [2] dróttir*: ‘drottirir’ Bb    [6] of galt: ‘ok gatt’ Bb

Editions: Skj: Hallar-Steinn, 1. Rekstefja 8: AI, 545, BI, 527, Skald I, 256, NN §1174; SHI 3, 248-9, CPB II, 296, Wisén 1886-9, I, 47, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 164, Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 207-12.

Notes: [1, 4] gengu … á bý haukjóðs þengils ‘placed themselves ... in the homestead of the hawk-offspring [HAWK > HAND] of the ruler’: The expression plays on the phrase ganga á hǫnd e-s/e-m ‘to submit to sby’. Hǫnd ‘hand’ is here expressed by a kenning; cf. a similar device in Anon Óldr 10/1-4, also referring to submission to Óláfr Tryggvason. — [2] hôtt ‘the metre’: The inexact rhyme on dróttir is acceptable in view of the apparent inconsistencies of assonance in Rst; see Introduction and Note to st. 3/8 above. Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) argued for hótt-, and this is adopted in Skj B, but not in Skald. — [2] dróttir* ‘troops’: The ms. has a trivial error here: the scribe wrote <ir> both in full and as a superscript abbreviation. The exact implication of dróttir is uncertain here, since it was the people of Norway rather than Hákon’s army who submitted to Óláfr. — [3] Þundregns ‘of Þundr’s <= Óðinn’s> rain [POETRY]’: (a) The context suggests a kenning alluding to the myth of the mead of poetry (so, seemingly, Skj B, and see Meissner 429), and although drink or waves are the most common form of liquid to be so designated, this conforms to the basic pattern. (On the myth see SnE 1998, I, 3-4; Note to Eskál Vell 1 [All]; Introduction to SkP III; Frank 1981; Davidson 1983, 418-47). (b) LP: Þundregn takes this as a battle-kenning, which would perhaps join with hôtt(r) ‘metre’ to mean battle poetry. — [5] illri þjóðu ‘evil people’: Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) suggests that ‘evil people’ is a reference to pagans and their faith (cf. st. 9). However, it is more likely that it refers to the (unidentified) vikings mentioned in l. 8. — [6] Óláfr: On the form of the king’s name, see Note to st. 3/8. — [7] velja ‘deal’: The primary sense of the verb is ‘choose’, but the context indicates ‘deal, provide’, which is supported by st. 13/5 (cf. Konráð Gíslason 1895-7).

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated