Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson (Hfr)
10th century; volume 1; ed. Diana Whaley;
1. Óláfsdrápa (Óldr) - 14
2. Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar (ErfÓl) - 29
III. Hákonardrápa (Hákdr) - 9
V. Eiríksdrápa (Eirdr) - 1
V. Lausavísur (Lv) - 28
Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ‘Troublesome-poet’ Óttarsson (Hfr) was brought up in Vatnsdalur, northern Iceland, probably in the 960s. He is the subject of Hallfreðar saga (Hallfr), which survives both as a continuous text (ÍF 8, 133-200) and interpolated into ÓT. The main strands of the saga are Hallfreðr’s unhappy relationship with Kolfinna Ávaldadóttir, his travels as trader, fighter and poet, his conversion to Christianity and his devotion to Óláfr Tryggvason, and all these aspects of his life occasioned poetry which partially survives.
Fragments of an early drápa for Hákon jarl Sigurðarson (r. c. 970-c. 995) are extant (Hfr HákdrIII; ÍF 8, 151), but the greater part of Hallfreðr’s court poetry, and the poetry edited in this volume, concerns King Óláfr Tryggvason (c. 995-c. 1000): Óláfsdrápa (Hfr Óldr) and Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar (Hfr ErfÓl). Like other Icelanders, Hallfreðr accepted Christian baptism under the influence of Óláfr. The difficulty, for a poet and pagan, of this switch of religious allegiance is the theme of Hfr Lv 6-10V, and is, according to the sagas, alluded to in his nickname vandræðaskáld, lit. ‘Poet of difficulties’. The sagas agree that the name was bestowed by the king, though they differ about the precise reason (ÓTOdd 1932, 125-6; Hkr, ÍF 26, 331-2; Hallfr, ÍF 8, 155; ÓT 1958-2000, I, 387). Hallfreðr is attributed with a lost Uppreistardrápa ‘Restoration drápa’ (?), supposedly composed to atone for his journey into pagan Gautland (Västergötland, ÍF 8, 178). He is also credited in Hallfr (ÍF 8, 194-5) with an encounter with Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson (r. c. 1000-c. 1014) and in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 257, 266, 280) with poetry for him; this is vestigially preserved in Eiríksdrápa (Hfr EirdrV). The saga also shows Hallfreðr presenting a flokkr to the Danish jarl Sigvaldi (ÍF 8, 168) and a poem to the Swedish king Óláfr Eiríksson (ÍF 8, 177-8), but no traces of these survive.
The marriage of Kolfinna, the love of Hallfreðr’s youth, to Gríss Sæmingsson provoked Hallfreðr both early and later in life to compose strikingly inventive stanzas which intertwine themes of yearning love and rivalry (Hfr Lv 1-3, 15-24V), and his níð against Gríss led to legal proceedings and indirectly to the killing of Hallfreðr’s brother Galti (Ldn, ÍF 1, 224; ÍF 8, 189-90). In the course of an adventure in Västergötland (Hfr Lv 12-14V), Hallfreðr met and married Ingibjǫrg Þórisdóttir, who died young, but not before bearing two sons, Auðgísl and Hallfreðr. According to Hallfr (ÍF 8, 196-9), Hallfreðr himself died at the age of nearly forty, from a combination of illness and injury as he sailed through the Hebrides; he was buried on Iona (cf. Hfr Lv 26-7V).
Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar (‘Memorial drápa for Óláfr Tryggvason’)
Kate Heslop 2012, ‘ Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar’ 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. 400. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1256> (accessed 26 September 2021)
Skj: Hallfrøðr Óttarsson vandræðaskáld: 3. Óláfsdrápa, erfidrápa, 1001 (AI, 159-66, BI, 150-7); stanzas (if different): 1 |
SkP info: I, 420
14 — Hfr ErfÓl 14I
Cite as: Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 14’ 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. 420.
The defenders’ swords become blunted and, as Óláfr is distributing new ones, his men notice for the first time that he is wounded. Men on board Ormr inn langi ‘the Long Serpent’ fall from wounds and exhaustion, first in the forecastle and bow, and then amidships.
notes: [5-8]: The helmingr is problematic. In l. 5, ms. vina (m. gen. pl.) ‘of friends’ is difficult to accommodate in the syntax, and the last word is highly variable in the mss. Gen. sg. ítrs ‘glorious’ would seem to qualify jǫfurs ‘of the prince’, but since this is a Type C-line the words occupying positions 2-4 (here ítrs vina) belong together syntactically (cf. Gade 1995a, 123-4). Further, varði ‘defended’ in l. 7 lacks a direct object. (a) Two small emendations are adopted here: of vina to vini (m. acc. pl.), giving a direct object for varði, and of ítrs to ítr, which then forms a cpd with vini, ‘glorious friends’; cf. ítrfermðum ‘splendidly laden’ in st. 17/1. The last word in l. 5 is taken here as Áta ‘of Áti’. The resulting kenning is unusual, but cf. ætt Endils ‘clan of Endill <sea-king>’, hence ‘seafaring princes’ in general, Arn Þorfdr 22/5, 6II. This interpretation is indebted to Kari Ellen Gade. (b) Skj B takes the last word in l. 5 as ôttu ‘had’ (3rd pers. pl. pret. indic. of eiga), and emends twice: vina (m. gen. pl.) ‘of friends’ to vinir (m. nom. pl.) ‘friends’ and varði (3rd pers. sg. pret. indic.) ‘defended’ to varða (inf.) ‘to defend’. Vinir is then the subject of an auxiliary and inf. construction: vinir ítrs jǫfurs ôttu varða sverðum ‘friends of the glorious prince had to defend with swords’, but this does not avoid the difficulty with ítrs jǫfurs mentioned above.
texts: ‹Flat 348›,
editions: Skj Hallfrøðr Óttarsson vandræðaskáld: 3. Óláfsdrápa, erfidrápa 14 (AI, 162; BI, 153); Skald I, 83, NN §§477, 478, 3215; SHI 2, 317-18, ÓT 1958-2000, II, 277 (ch. 252), Flat 1860-8, I, 487.