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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 20 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, 202

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — HSt Frag 2III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Fragments 2’ 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.

Holmleggjar viðr hilmir
hring-Skǫglar mik þǫglan.

{Hilmir {holmleggjar}} {hring-Skǫglar} viðr mik þǫglan.

{The ruler {of the island-bone}} [ROCK > DWARF = Litr (litr ‘colour’)] {of the ring-Skǫgul <valkyrie>} [WOMAN] makes me silent.

Mss: A(5v), W(105) (TGT)

Readings: [1] viðr: so W, vinnr A

Editions: Skj: Hallar-Steinn, 2. a. Af et digt om en kvinde 1: AI, 552, BI, 534, Skald I, 260; SnE 1848-87, II, 132-3, 414, III, 145, TGT 1884, 21, 85, 198-9, TGT 1927, 60, 100.

Context: This couplet is cited in TGT in the section on the rhetorical figure Amphibologia, i.e. a word that could have more than one meaning. Immediately following the couplet, Óláfr Þórðarson, the author of TGT, explains that litr ‘colour’ is the name of a dwarf and also a term for feminine beauty.

Notes: [All]: The couplet portrays the inability to speak as a typical motif of love-sickness, cf. e.g. Gríp 29, and further examples in Lowes (1913-14), Heinrichs (1988) and Wack (1990). — [1] viðr ‘makes’: Instead of the form viðr (< vinnr, see ANG §261), a result of regular sound change in the Viking Age, ms. A gives the later, analogical form vinnr, but the older form is preferable and has been adopted here. — [1] hilmir holmleggjar ‘the ruler of the island-bone [ROCK > DWARF = Litr (litr ‘colour’)]’: The kenning is an ofljóst construction based on the homonymy of the pers. n. Litr (dwarf-name, cf. Note to Þul Dverga 6/2) and the noun litr ‘colour, hue’ (TGT 1884, 198-9). In the context of the stanza litr refers to the appearance (Fritzner: litr 3) and beauty of a woman. Holmleggjar is formed according to the kenning pattern ‘bone of the earth’ for ‘stone’.

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