Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hárekr í Þjóttu (Hár)

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

Lausavísur (Lv) - 2

Skj info: Hárekr Eyvindarson í Þjóttu, Norsk hövding, d. 1035. (AI, 308-9, BI, 286).

Skj poems:

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.

 1   2 

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

SkP info: I, 810

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — Hár Lv 2I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Hárekr í Þjóttu, Lausavísur 2’ 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. 810.

Lætka Lundar ekkjur
(læbaugs) at því hlæja
(skjótum eik fyr útan
ey) né danskar meyjar,
Jǫrð, at eigi þørðak,
ifla flausts, í hausti
á flatslóðir Fróða
fara aptr Vali krapta.

Lætka ekkjur Lundar né danskar meyjar hlæja at því — skjótum {eik {læbaugs}} fyr útan ey —, {Jǫrð {flausts ifla}}, at eigi þørðak í hausti fara {Vali krapta} aptr á {flatslóðir Fróða}.

I will not let the widows of Lund nor Danish maidens laugh about this — we speed {the oak {of the deceit-ring}} [SEA > SHIP] beyond the island —, {Jǫrð <goddess> {of the ship of the hawk}} [ARM > WOMAN], that I did not dare in the autumn to travel {in the Valr <horse> of the bollard} [SHIP] back over {the level tracks of Fróði <sea-king>} [SEA].

Mss: (417v), J2ˣ(201r) (Hkr); Holm2(54r), 75a(42vb), 73aˣ(164v), 68(51v), Holm4(48va), 61(113va), 75c(34v), 325V(61rb-va), Bb(183va), Flat(116ra), Tóm(141v) (ÓH); FskAˣ(177), FskBˣ(47v-48r) (Fsk); DG8(93r) (ÓHLeg)

Readings: [1] Lætka (‘Lætca ec’): ‘Leccað ec’ Holm2, ‘Leckat ek’ 73aˣ, Flat, ‘Lettkat’ Holm4, ‘Lackan’ 61, ‘Letað ek’ 75c, ‘Letkat’ 325V, leitað ek Bb, lækkat DG8;    Lundar: ‘þíndar’ Tóm;    ekkjur: ekkju 61, ‘eickior’ Bb    [2] því hlæja: om. 75a;    hlæja: hlýja Bb    [3] skjótum: ‘s[...]tum’ FskBˣ;    útan: ‘utcan’ DG8    [4] ey né: ‘eyni’ 325V, Bb;    danskar: danskrar Flat    [5] þørðak: so Holm2, 75a, Holm4, Flat, þorða Kˣ, FskAˣ, FskBˣ, þyrðag 73aˣ, ‘þærþag’ 68, þyrða 61, 325V, þørða 75c, þerða Bb, þorðat Tóm, þorðim DG8    [6] ifla: ‘Jfa laust’ Tóm;    flausts: flaust J2ˣ, 75a, 73aˣ, 68, 75c, Bb, Flat, DG8, ‘flauts’ Holm2, flaustr 61, Tóm, flaugs FskBˣ;    í: so Holm2, 75a, 73aˣ, 68, Holm4, 75c, Bb, Flat, FskBˣ, DG8, á Kˣ, J2ˣ, 61, 325V, FskAˣ, at Tóm;    hausti: hausta Bb    [7] á flat‑: afla Bb;    ‑slóðir: ‑sólar 68, ‑slóðar 61, 325V, Tóm, ‑slóðir apparently corrected from ‘soðar’ DG8;    Fróða: fóla 68, láta FskBˣ    [8] fara: fóru Flat;    Vali: vala 68, FskAˣ

Editions: Skj: Hárekr Eyvindarson í Þjóttu, Lausavísur 2: AI, 309, BI, 286, Skald I, 146, NN §1125; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 379, IV, 147-8, ÍF 27, 291, Hkr 1991, II, 464-5 (ÓHHkr ch. 158); Fms 4, 373, Fms 12, 90-1, ÓH 1941, I, 453 (ch. 150), Flat 1860-8, II, 287; Fsk 1902-3, 169 (ch. 27), ÍF 29, 189-90 (ch. 32); ÓHLeg 1922, 62, ÓHLeg 1982, 150-1.

Context: See Context to Lv 1. This stanza is spoken as Hárekr leaves the Eyrarsund (Øresund); ÓH-Hkr specify that he is sailing north past Veðrey (Väderø, Skåne).

Notes: [1] ekkjur ‘the widows’: The word ekkja often functions as a general heiti for ‘woman’, but here might have its fuller sense in contrast with the meyjar ‘maidens’ of l. 4, especially since the qualifying Lundar ‘of Lund’ and danskar ‘Danish’ do not contrast sharply, Lund having been Danish territory at this time. — [2-3] eik læbaugs ‘the oak of the deceit-ring [SEA > SHIP]’: The context demands a ship-kenning with eik ‘oak’ as base-word, and læbaugs appears to be a sea-kenning, though it is unclear how it works (so Meissner 95). (a) The second element -baugs ‘ring, encircler’ would plausibly form part of a determinant meaning ‘sea’, if joined with a word meaning ‘land’, cf. eybaugr m. ‘island-ring [SEA]’ (LP: eybaugr). - in its usual senses ‘deceit, harm, poison’ does not fit semantically, yet is guaranteed by the rhyme and alliteration, and therefore is left to stand here. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; LP: læbaugr) may have been correct to surmise that this is a lost term for ‘land’ or a proper name, perhaps for an island. (b) Kock (NN §1125, followed by ÍF 27, ÍF 29 and Hkr 1991) suggested that is ‘poison’ here, and læbaugs ‘poison-ring’ a term for a serpent, hence perhaps a dragon-prow, whose eik ‘oak’ is a dragon-ship. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson in ÍF 27, following this, compares Bkrepp Magndr 4/2II vallbaugr ‘field-ring [SNAKE]’. He also cites Hfr ErfÓl 14/2 læsíkr ‘poison-whitefish [SNAKE]’, which refers to the ship Ormr inn langi, but this is structurally different and, as a substitute for a proper name, a special case. It is also problematic in itself, and interpreting as ‘land’ is among the possible solutions (see Note). — [4] ey ‘the island’: See Context for a possible location.  — [5, 6] Jǫrð flausts ifla ‘Jǫrð <goddess> of the ship of the hawk [ARM > WOMAN]’: This arm-kenning is an unusual variant on the pattern ‘land of the hawk’, i.e. place where trained birds perch. Sturl Hákkv 33/2II contains the later example ferja hauka ‘ferry of hawks’, and cf. Meissner 142. Ifla could be gen. sg. of ifli m. ‘hawk’, as assumed here, or possibly gen. pl. The enclosing woman-kenning seems to be an apostrophe, though no medieval source provides an interlocutor. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) pictured Hárekr addressing the stanza to his wife on return to Þjótta. — [7] flatslóðir Fróða ‘the level tracks of Fróði <sea-king> [SEA]’: The kenning follows a well-known pattern in which sea is referred to as the land of a sea-king, named but usually shadowy (see examples in Meissner 92-3). Fróði appears in a list of sea-kings in Þul Sækonunga 1/1III but is better known as a legendary king of the Danes (see Notes to Þjóð Yt 1/2 and Eyv Lv 8/5-7), and the choice of this name chimes with the other Danish allusions in the stanza.  — [8] Vali krapta ‘in the Valr <horse> of the bollard [SHIP]’: Valr, a word for ‘hawk’, became a horse-heiti and hence enters into kennings for ‘ship’; see Þloft Tøgdr 5/6 and Note. The determinant here is the gen. sg. or gen. pl. of krapti ‘bollard’, which is ‘the wooden protuberance on the hull of a ship (or boat) to which the mooring-rope could be attached’ (Jesch 2001a, 170).

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