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Runic Dictionary

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Hallvarðr háreksblesi (Hallv)

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

Knútsdrápa (Knútdr) - 8

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 26 September 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8 

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].

Mss: (429r) (Hkr); Holm2(57r), 325V(67vb-68ra), J2ˣ(207r), 321ˣ(212), Bæb(2vb), 61(115vb), 68(56v), 325XI 2 g(3va-b), Holm4(54vb), 325VII(31r), Flat(118vb), Tóm(146r) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] ræðr: réð Holm2, 325V, J2ˣ, 321ˣ, Bæb, 61, 68, 325XI 2 g, 325VII, Flat, Tóm    [2] einn: þeim 325VII;    hefsk: hófsk 325V, J2ˣ, 321ˣ, 61, 325VII, Flat, Tóm;    at: ok 325VII;    beinni: beini 325V, 325VII, Flat, beinn 321ˣ, beimi Tóm    [3] bǫð‑: band 321ˣ;    bœnar: ‘brꜹtar’ J2ˣ, ‘bodar’ 61;    nǫkkva: nakkvat 325V, ‘nockvar’ 321ˣ, nǫkkut 61, ‘nacca’ 325VII, ‘nockuat’ Flat, ‘nauckuat’ Tóm    [4] bark‑: ‘bꜹrk’ J2ˣ, ‘brack’ 321ˣ, brak‑ 325VII;    ok: í J2ˣ, 325XI 2 g, Tóm, á 61    [5] odda: varða 61    [6] jalm‑: alm‑ J2ˣ, Bæb, 325VII, ‘jalmer’ 321ˣ;    Freyr: fyr 321ˣ, ‑rjóðr Bæb, frægr 61;    malma: malmi 325V, hjalma 61    [7] hjaldrǫrr: ‘hlialldr’ 325VII;    haukum: hauka J2ˣ, Bæb, ‘[…]’ 325XI 2 g, aukum Tóm;    þverrir: ‘[…]’ 325XI 2 g, þverrar Tóm    [8] hungr Nóregi þrungit: ‘[…]’ 325XI 2 g;    hungr: ‘hungs’ J2ˣ, hungrs Bæb;    Nóregi: ‘storer’ 321ˣ;    þrungit: ‘þravm þrvngit’ 325V, þrungin 61, þrunginn Holm4

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.

Context: The stanza is quoted in ÓH and Hkr following Knútr’s 1028 conquest of Norway orrostulaust ‘without a battle’.

Notes: [All]: On Knútr’s conquest, see further Bolton (2009). — [1] ræðr ‘rules’: Ms. ’s pres. tense is the minority form, with all ÓH mss except Holm4 showing pret. réð ‘ruled’. However, a tense-progression within the stanza from ræðr (first helmingr) to hefr þrungit ‘has forced’ (ll. 5, 8; second helmingr) makes more sense than one from réð to hefr þrungit. — [2] hefsk ‘commences’: Again, pres. and pret. tense alternate in the mss, though in this case the pres. tense is (just) the majority form. — [2] at beinni ‘the more easily’: Dat. sg. comp. of the adj. beinn ‘straight, direct’. For the use of at before a comp. adj. or adv., see CVC: at B.VIII, ONP: at IV.C.2. — [3] nǫkkva ‘of the ship’: Clearly, a number of scribes took this to be a form of the adj./pron. nakkvarr ‘someone’ in their attempt to construe the helmingr. For nǫkkvi ‘ship’, see Note to Þul Skipa 1/8. — [5-8]: Kock and Meissner (1931, II, 93) interpret the kennings in this second helmingr as odda Leiknar jalm-Freyr ‘the Freyr of the noise of the Leikn <giantess> of spears [VALKYRIE > BATTLE > WARRIOR]’ and haukar malma ‘hawks of weapons [RAVENS/EAGLES]’. This has the syntactic benefit of leading to only one intercalary phrase, not two, but the resultant kennings seem less satisfactory (see also NN §2265B). Other eds adopt the interpretation followed here. — [5] Leiknar ‘of the Leikn <giantess>’: A giantess-name (see LP: Leikn, McKinnell 2005, 112 and Note to Þul Trollkvenna 4/7) used here as the base-word in a kenning for ‘valkyrie’. — [6] jalm ‘of the noise’: This word has been re-interpreted by some scribes as almr ‘bow’, which gives an over-determined warrior-kenning, ‘the bow-Freyr of weapons’. — [6, 8] þrungit und sik ‘forced under him’: The locution also occurs in Þhorn Gldr 6/1, 4I, Ótt Hfl 20/8I, Arn Magndr 7/8II and elsewhere (see LP: þryngva; see also Bolton 2009, 264-9 and McKinnell 2005, 155).  — [7] hjaldrǫrr ‘the battle-eager one’: This word can either be a substantivised adj. (with a short vowel in the second element) or a noun (hjaldrôrr ‘battle-performer’, with a long vowel in the second element). The adj. is adopted here, as also by ÍF 27 and Jesch (2000); Skj B, Skald and Frank (1994b) prefer the noun (as does LP: hjaldrôrr for this occurrence).

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