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Runic Dictionary

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Hallar-Steinn (HSt)

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

III. Fragments (Frag) - 6

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.

Fragments — HSt FragIII

Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2017, ‘ Hallar-Steinn, Fragments’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 202. <> (accessed 27 May 2022)

stanzas:  2   3   4   5   6   7 

Skj: Hallar-Steinn: 2. a. Af et digt om en kvinde (AI, 552-3, BI, 534-5); stanzas (if different): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

SkP info: III, 208

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — HSt Frag 6III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Fragments 6’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 208.

Hart (fló hvast of snertu)
hregg magnaðisk, bragna
(bókar sól) þars búkar,
benvargs, hnigu margir.

{Hart hregg {benvargs}} magnaðisk, þars margir búkar bragna hnigu; {sól bókar} fló hvast of snertu.

{The strong storm {of the wound-wolf}} [SWORD > BATTLE] increased, where many bodies of men sank down; {the sun of the book} [COLOUR (steinn ‘stone’)] flew sharply in battle.

Mss: papp10ˣ(52v), 2368ˣ(133), 743ˣ(99v) (LaufE)

Readings: [1] snertu: ‘Suerttu’ 2368ˣ

Editions: Skj: Hallar-Steinn, 2. b. Af et digt om Skáldhelgi(?) 5: AI, 553, BI, 535, Skald I, 260; LaufE 1979, 307, 398.

Context: This helmingr is cited in LaufE among fragments exemplifying kennings and heiti for ‘stone’, and, more specifically, among a group of stone-kennings referring to them as the sheen, colour etc. of books or ships (LaufE 1979, 307): þui bækur eru lystar, skip steind ‘because books are illuminated, ships painted’. In the Y redaction of LaufE Frag 6 and Frag 7 are cited as one stanza, and the latter is also given as an example of a stone-kenning (hnegg foldar ‘heart of the earth’).

Notes: [2] bragna ‘of men’: This noun could technically be accommodated in any of the helmingr’s three clauses. Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) connects it with búkar ‘bodies’ (l. 3), which is adopted in the present edn. Kock (NN §1189) takes it with snertu ‘battle’ (l. 1) and cites a few parallels for the syntagm ‘battle of men’, none of which are fully equivalent. — [3] sól bókar ‘the sun of the book [COLOUR (steinn ‘stone’)]’: This is an ofljóst construction, based on the homonymy of ON steinn, which can mean both ‘stain, colour’ and ‘stone’.

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