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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hallvarðr háreksblesi (Hallv)

11th century; volume 3; ed. Matthew Townend;

Knútsdrápa (Knútdr) - 8

Skj info: Hallvarðr háreksblesi, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 317-18, BI, 293-4).

Skj poems:

Hallvarðr (Hallv) is an obscure figure, and the poem edited here is his only extant work. In Skáldatal he is listed once, amongst Knútr Sveinsson’s (r. 1018-35) poets (SnE 1848-87, III, 258, 267, 282), and he also appears to be mentioned only once in saga-sources, namely in Tómasskinna’s account of Knútr’s attempt to recruit Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld to his service (ÓH 1941, II, 803): Þormodr þackade honum fyrer bodit. enn kuozt eigi fær til ath ganga j stad haufud skalldanna er uerit haufdu med Knuti konungi. Þorarins loftungu eda Halluardz eda Ottars eda Sighuatz ‘Þormóðr thanked him for the invitation, but he said he was not able to take the place of the chief poets who had been with King Knútr: Þórarinn loftunga or Hallvarðr or Óttarr or Sigvatr’. The significance of Hallvarðr’s nickname, which is attributed to him in ÓH (ÓH 1941, I, 477), Hkr (ÍF 27, 311) and Knýtl (ÍF 35, 103), is unclear: blesi means ‘blaze (on a horse’s head)’ and the word occurs mostly as a masculine nickname, but who Hárekr was, and why Hallvarðr should be ‘Hárekr’s blaze’, is unknown (see Finnur Jónsson 1907, 170, 198 and Lind 1920-1, col. 136).

Knútsdrápa (‘Drápa about Knútr’) — Hallv KnútdrIII

Matthew Townend 2017, ‘ Hallvarðr háreksblesi, Knútsdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 230. <> (accessed 28 June 2022)

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Skj: Hallvarðr háreksblesi: Knútsdrápa (AI, 317-18, BI, 293-4); stanzas (if different): 4 | 5

SkP info: III, 237

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — Hallv Knútdr 6III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Matthew Townend (ed.) 2017, ‘Hallvarðr háreksblesi, Knútsdrápa 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. 237.

Englandi ræðr yngvi
einn — hefsk friðr at beinni —
bǫðrakkr bœnar nǫkkva
barkrjóðr ok Danmǫrku.
Ok hefr (odda Leiknar)
jalm-Freyr und sik malma
(hjaldrǫrr haukum þverrir
hungr) Nóregi þrungit.

Yngvi, {bǫðrakkr {{nǫkkva bœnar} bark}rjóðr}, ræðr einn Englandi ok Danmǫrku; friðr hefsk at beinni. Ok {{malma jalm-}Freyr} hefr þrungit und sik Nóregi; hjaldrǫrr þverrir hungr {haukum {Leiknar odda}}.

The king, {the battle-bold reddener {of the bark {of the ship of prayer}}} [(lit. ‘bark-reddener of the ship of prayer’) BREAST > MAIL-SHIRT > WARRIOR], alone rules England and Denmark; peace commences the more easily. And {the Freyr <god> {of the noise of weapons}} [(lit. ‘noise-Freyr of weapons’) BATTLE > WARRIOR] has forced under him Norway; the battle-eager one diminishes hunger {for the hawks {of the Leikn <giantess> of spears}} [VALKYRIE > RAVENS/EAGLES].

texts: Flat 563, ÓH 126 (122), ÓHHkr 119 (II 119), Hkr 320 (II 119)

editions: Skj Hallvarðr háreksblesi: Knútsdrápa 6 (AI, 318; BI, 294); Skald I, 149-50, NN §2265B; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 400, ÍF 27, 311 (ÓHHkr ch. 173); ÓH 1941, I, 477 (ch. 167), Flat 1860-8, II, 307 ; Frank 1994b, 120, Jesch 2000, 247.


AM 36 folx (Kx) 429r, 22 - 429r, 29 (Hkr)  image  
Holm perg 2 4° (Holm2) 57r, 22 - 57r, 24 (ÓH)  image  
AM 325 V 4° (325V) 67vb, 31 - 68ra, 3 (ÓH)  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 207r, 1 - 207r, 8 (ÓH)  image  
AM 321 4°x (321x) 212, 19 - 212, 23 (ÓH)  transcr.  image  
AM 73 b fol (Bæb) 2vb, 30 - 2vb, 30 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 61 fol (61) 115vb, 27 - 115vb, 31 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 68 fol (68) 56v, 34 - 56v, 34 (ÓH)  image  
AM 325 XI 2 g 4° (325XI 2 g) 3va, 25 - 3vb, 25 (ÓH)  image  
Holm perg 4 4° (Holm4) 54vb, 24 - 54vb, 28 (ÓH)  image  
AM 325 VII 4° (325VII) 31r, 28 - 31r, 29 (ÓH)  image  
GKS 1005 fol (Flat) 118vb, 19 - 118vb, 22 (ÓH)  image  image  image  
GKS 1008 fol (Tóm) 146r, 13 - 146r, 13 (ÓH)  image  
AM 73 a folx (73ax) 177r, 29 - 177r, 29 (ÓH)  image  
Thott 972 folx (972x) 422va, 1 - 422va, 8 (ÓH)  image  image  
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