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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Halli stirði (Halli XI)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Russell Poole;

Flokkr (Fl) - 6

Skj info: Halli stirði, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 401-2, BI, 370-1).

Skj poems:

The poet who composed these sts is unidentified in the extant medieval sources. However, Johan Peringskiöld’s edn of Hkr (Hkr 1697, II, 143) contains an ascription to one ‘Halli stríði’ ‘the Stern’. This might have originated in a lost source (cf. Fidjestøl 1982, 145-6) but is more plausibly explained as a result of a misinterpretation of contracted svá sem hér segir ‘as is told here’ in Hkr as svá segir Halli stríði ‘as Halli stríði says’ or similar (ÍF 28, 160). This attribution might have been prompted by mention of an otherwise unknown Halli stirði ‘the Stubborn’, with nearly identical nickname, in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 275) as one of the skalds of Haraldr harðráði. Possibly Peringskiöld was aware of this attestation. Halli stirði must be a separate identity from Haraldr’s well-known skald, Sneglu-Halli (SnH), since Skáldatal lists both Sneglu-Halli and Halli stirði among the poets who eulogised Haraldr. Also, the present sts indicate that their speaker was with Haraldr in 1064 when the events narrated took place, whereas, according to Sneglu-Halla þáttr (Snegl), Sneglu-Halli returned permanently to Iceland at an earlier date. Sneglu-Halli also composed encomiastic poetry, as indicated in Snegl (see Mork 1928-32, 234-47; ÍF 9, 261-95; Andersson and Gade 2000, 243-52).

Flokkr — Halli XI FlII

Russell Poole 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Halli stirði, Flokkr’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 337-43.

 1   2   3   4   5   6 

Skj: Halli stirði: Flokkr, 1064 (AI, 401-2, BI, 370-1)

SkP info: II, 340-1

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Halli XI Fl 3II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2009, ‘Halli stirði, Flokkr 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 340-1.

Sýstuð suðr, þars æstu,
snjallr gramr, Danir allir
— enn sér eigi minni
efni — mæltrar stefnu.
Sveinn tekr norðr at nenna
nær til landamæris
— varð fyr víðri jǫrðu
vinnsamt — Harald finna.

Sýstuð suðr, snjallr gramr, þars allir Danir æstu mæltrar stefnu; enn sér eigi minni efni. Sveinn tekr at nenna norðr nær til landamæris finna Harald; varð vinnsamt fyr víðri jǫrðu.

You set out southwards, brave king, where all the Danes requested an appointed meeting; once again one sees no lesser cause. Sveinn starts to venture north near to the border to meet Haraldr; it became toilsome off the wide land.

Mss: (567r-v), 39(28va), F(50ra), E(23r), J2ˣ(287r-v) (Hkr); H(59r), Hr(43rb) (H-Hr)

Readings: [1] Sýstuð: sú stóð H, Hr;    suðr: ‘syðr’ 39;    þars (‘þar er’): þat er F, E;    æstu: so E, æstuð Kˣ, 39, F, J2ˣ, svía H, Hr    [2] Danir: dana H, Hr;    allir: allra H, Hr    [3] sér: so 39, F, E, H, Hr, sé: Kˣ, J2ˣ    [8] vinnsamt (‘vinsamt’): so E, vindsamt all others;    finna: finnask F

Editions: Skj: Halli stirði, Flokkr 3: AI, 402, BI, 370, Skald I, 185, NN §806; ÍF 28, 160 (HSig ch. 71), F 1871, 234, E 1916, 81; Fms 6, 331 (HSig ch. 88).

Context: Following st. 2, Hkr comments (ÍF 28, 159-60): Hér segir þat, at konungar þessir halda stefnulag, þat er gǫrt var milli þeira, ok koma þeir báðir til landamæris, svá sem hér segir ‘Here it is said that these kings keep the appointment that was made between them, and they both come to the border between their countries as it says here’. H-Hr adds um vetrinn ‘during the winter’ in association with gǫrt ‘made’ but otherwise is substantially the same as Hkr.

Notes: [1] sýstuð ‘you set out’: The poet here uses 2nd-pers. pl. address, in alternation with 3rd-pers. narrative. The verbal tenses in the st. vary, so that pres. (tekr ‘starts’ (l. 5)) contrasts with pret. (sýstuð ‘set out’ < sýsla (l. 1) and varð ‘became’ (l. 7)) (see Poole, 1991, 78). The verb sýsla recurs with God as its subject in st. 6. — [3-4] enn sér eigi minni efni ‘once again one sees no lesser cause’: The verb here is sér, 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of sjá ‘see’, used impersonally as ‘one sees’ (CVC: sjá A III), with ‘see’ in the sense of ‘judge, deem, envisage’ (see Fritzner: sjá 4-5). The speaker is placing himself on the side of the wise mediators by arguing that it is just as urgent to reconcile now as it was to fight on a previous occasion (cf. ÍF 28, 160). Kock (NN §806) establishes with numerous parallels that enn ‘once again’ belongs with the parenthesis, not the main cl. On the other hand, while it is conventional to take the gen. phrase mæltrar stefnu ‘an appointed meeting’ (l. 4) with the main cl., it might in fact construe with efni ‘cause’ (l. 4) or indeed with both clauses apo koinou. — [8] vinnsamt ‘toilsome’: So E. Traces of a noun vinn cognate with more familiar vinna ‘work, labour’, are attested (Olsen 1949b, 82-3) and could explain the conflict in readings here (the other mss have vindsamt ‘windy’). A rare word, vinnsamt might have been rationalised in the majority of mss. Reasoning of this sort presumably lies behind Finnur Jónsson’s vinnsamt (translated as en möjefuld sejlas ‘a toilsome sailing’) in Skj B (so also Skald). Alternatively, if we opt for the majority reading vindsamt ‘windy’, the imperfect and unusual aðalhending (-ind- : -inn-) could be defended as perhaps appropriate in an informal context, if indeed this poem is such.

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