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Runic Dictionary

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Hárekr í Þjóttu (Hár)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Diana Whaley;

Lausavísur (Lv) - 2

Hárekr (Hár) was a Norwegian chieftain from Þjótta (Tjøtta, Nordland), a son of the poet Eyvindr skáldaspillir (‘Plagiarist’ (?)) and otherwise well connected. According to Hkr and other sources, he enjoyed fluctuating relations with Óláfr Haraldsson (r. c. 1015-30) and other rulers, in a long career which terminated in a revenge killing, c. 1035, by Ásmundr Grankelsson, using Magnús góði’s axe. As well as being credited with two extant lausavísur, Hárekr is among the magnates listed in the U redaction of Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 269), with (Hofgarða-)Refr Gestsson as his skald. None of Hofgarða-Refr’s surviving poetry certainly concerns Hárekr, but his Frags 4, 5III could be from poems about Hárekr or his son Einarr (so LH I, 598).

Lausavísur — Hár LvI

Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Hárekr í Þjóttu, Lausavísur’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 808.

stanzas:  1   2 

Skj: Hárekr Eyvindarson í Þjóttu: Lausavísur, 1027 (AI, 308-9, BI, 286)

SkP info: I, 808

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Hár Lv 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Hárekr í Þjóttu, Lausavísur 1’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 808.

Ráðit hefk at ríða
Rínleygs heðan mínum
láðs dynmari, leiðar,
lǫngum, heldr an ganga,
þótt leggfjǫturs liggi
lundr í Eyrarsundi
— kann þjóð kerski minni —
Knútr herskipum úti.

Hefk ráðit at ríða heðan {lǫngum dynmari {láðs {Rínleygs}} mínum}, heldr an ganga leiðar, þótt {lundr {leggfjǫturs}}, Knútr, liggi herskipum úti í Eyrarsundi; þjóð kann kerski minni.

I have resolved to ride from here {my long resounding steed {of the land {of Rhine-flame}}} [GOLD > SEA > SHIP], rather than to walk on my way, though {the grove {of the limb-fetter}} [ARM-RING > MAN], Knútr, may lie with warships out in the Øresund; people know my spirit.

Mss: (416v), J2ˣ(200r-v) (Hkr); Holm2(54r), 75a(42rb), 73aˣ(164r), 68(51v), Holm4(48rb), 61(113rb-va), 75c(34r), 325V(61ra), 325VII(30v), Bb(183rb), Flat(116ra), Tóm(141v) (ÓH); FskAˣ(175) (Fsk); DG8(92v) (ÓHLeg); A(3v), W(101), B(2v), 744ˣ(8r) (TGT, ll. 1-2)

Readings: [1] Ráðit: ‘Raþto’ 68;    hefk (‘hefi ec’): hef Bb, hafði Tóm    [2] Rín‑: lín‑ Tóm;    ‑leygs: ‑leiks 61, ‘‑lꝍks’ DG8, ‘‑[…]gs’ B, ‑leygs 744ˣ;    mínum: mínu 73aˣ, Flat, A, ‘minam’ 61, ‘[…]nu’ B, mínu 744ˣ    [3] ‑mari: ‑mara Holm4;    leiðar: dreyra 75c, leiða Flat    [5] þótt: ‘þeott’ 68, ‘þote’ 325VII;    legg‑: ‘laug‑’ Tóm;    ‑fjǫturs: ‑fjǫturr 68, 75c, 325V, Bb, DG8    [6] lundr: lyndr 68;    Eyrar‑: eyra‑ 75c, eyja‑ Bb;    ‑sundi: ‑sundum 75c, 325VII, Bb, Flat    [7] kerski: ‘[…]’ 325VII, ‘kælki’ DG8    [8] Knútr: Knút 61;    herskipum: á herskipum Flat

Editions: Skj: Hárekr Eyvindarson í Þjóttu, Lausavísur 1: AI, 308, BI, 286, Skald I, 146, NN §§773, 774; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 377, IV, 146-7, ÍF 27, 289-90, Hkr 1991, II, 463-4 (ÓHHkr ch. 158); Fms 4, 371, Fms 12, 90, ÓH 1941, I, 451 (ch. 150), Flat 1860-8, II, 286; Fsk 1902-3, 167 (ch. 27), ÍF 29, 188 (ch. 32); ÓHLeg 1922, 61-2, ÓHLeg 1982, 148-9; SnE 1848-87, II, 98-9, TGT 1884, 13, 64, 164-5, TGT 1927, 42, TGT 1998, 104-5.

Context: Confronted by a mighty Danish fleet lying in the Eyrarsund (Øresund), King Óláfr Haraldsson decides on a strategic retreat overland, but the veteran Hárekr refuses to abandon his ships. He speaks Lv 1 before he sets sail in ÓH-Hkr and Fsk, but after in ÓHLeg. In TGT, the first couplet illustrates the barbarismus consisting of the dropping of a syllable (aftekning samstǫfu); after the citation it is explained that this is necessary to avoid a superfluous syllable, and (though not in W) that the word in question is Rín- in place of Rínar

Notes: [1-2]: Ms. 744ˣ, a copy of B by Jón Ólafsson, is used to supply readings (whether these match or differ from the main text) where B is not legible.  — [1-4]: The helmingr clearly declares that the skald will travel by sea rather than on foot, and contains a ship-kenning of which ‑mari (dat. sg.) ‘steed’ in l. 3 is the base-word, aptly matched by the verb ríða ‘ride’, which takes a dat. object. Rínleygs ‘Rhine-flame’ in l. 2 is a stereotypical gold-kenning, but it is not certain whether it supplies part of the necessary determinant of the ship-kenning, and láðs ‘land’ and leiðar ‘way’ in l. 3 are problematic. Neither of the two main analyses of the helmingr is wholly convincing. (a) The analysis above, which avoids emendation, is essentially that proposed by Kock (NN §773; Skald) and taken up in ÍF 27, ÍF 29 and Hkr 1991. Láð Rínleygs ‘land of Rhine-flame [GOLD]’ is taken as a kenning, albeit unparalleled, for ‘sea’, on the basis that since ‘gold’ can be ‘flame of the sea/water’ (as in Rínleygs itself), the sea can be ‘land of gold’. This sea-kenning then acts as determinant for dynmari ‘noise-steed, resounding steed’ to represent ‘ship’, hence lǫngum dynmari láðs Rínleygs ‘long resounding steed of the land of Rhine-flame [GOLD > SEA > SHIP]’. Leiðar (f. gen. sg.) is then taken by Kock as the equivalent of leiðangr, a seaborne expedition, specifying the ship-kenning as a warship. Kock compares Tindr Hákdr 4/7 leiðar langra skeiða, which he takes to mean ‘of long expedition ships’. A variation on this analysis is to take leiðar as an adverbial gen. sg. of leið in the sense ‘way, path’ hence ‘on my way’, qualifying ganga ‘go, walk’ (cf. NS §141), and this is adopted above. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; LP: leiðir) emended leiðar to leiðir which, tentatively interpreted as ‘hater’, yields a man-kenning leiðir Rínleygs ‘hater of Rhine-flame [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN]’. This functions as an apostrophe, presumably to King Óláfr, who is present in Fsk and ÓH-Hkr but not in ÓHLeg (Context above). Finnur (LP: dynmarr) construed dyn- ‘noise, noisy, roaring’ in dynmari, with láðs ‘of the land’, hence láðs dynmari ‘steed of the land of noise [(lit. ‘noise-steed of the land’) SEA > SHIP]’, though this depends on equating dyn(r) with terms for waves or the surging sea, such as brim (cf. Meissner 93). — [5, 6] lundr leggfjǫturs ‘the grove of the limb-fetter [ARM-RING > MAN]’: This is an unusual kenning, but ‘fetter, bond’ in kennings for ‘arm-ring’ or ‘gold/silver’ is paralleled in Anon (Styrb) 3/2 liðband ‘limb-band’ and Ólhelg Lv 2/6, 8 band valklifs ‘band of the falcon-cliff [ARM > RING]’ (under one interpretation: see Note). The man-kenning could either be taken in apposition to Knútr (as here; also NN §774; ÍF 27; ÍF 29) or as an apostrophe (as in Hkr 1893-1901, IV and Skj B, matching the apostrophe assumed there in the first helmingr). — [7] kann ‘know’: Kunna frequently governs a dat. object, especially when it refers to knowing or understanding someone’s character or behaviour (see examples in Fritzner: kunna 1b), here kerski minni ‘my spirit’ or perhaps ‘cheerfulness, sense of humour’. — [8] Knútr: Hárekr later allied with the Danish King Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great), and the ÓH-Hkr tradition (ÍF 27, 290-1) is that there was probably already an agreement at this point.

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