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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson (Hfr)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Diana Whaley;

2. Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar (ErfÓl) - 29

Skj info: Hallfrøðr Óttarsson vandræðaskáld, Islandsk skjald, død ved 1007. (AI, 155-73, BI, 147-63).

Skj poems:
1. Hákonardrápa
2. Óláfsdrápa
3. Óláfsdrápa, erfidrápa
4. Eiríksdrápa
5. Lausavísur

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’) — Hfr ErfÓlI

Kate Heslop 2012, ‘(Introduction to) 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.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26a   26b   27   28 

Skj: Hallfrøðr Óttarsson vandræðaskáld: 3. Óláfsdrápa, erfidrápa, 1001 (AI, 159-66, BI, 150-7); stanzas (if different): 1 | 2 | 3 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 27 | 28 | 29

SkP info: I, 432

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

22 — Hfr ErfÓl 22I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 22’ 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. 432.

Enn segir auðar kenni
austr ór malma gnaustan
seggr frá sôrum tyggja
sumr eða braut of kumnum.
Nús sannfregit sunnan
siklings ór styr miklum
(kannka mart við manna)
morð (veifanarorði).

Enn segir sumr seggr {kenni auðar} frá tyggja sôrum eða braut of kumnum austr ór {gnaustan malma}. Nús morð siklings sannfregit sunnan ór miklum styr; kannka mart við veifanarorði manna.

Still some warrior tells {the master of riches} [MAN] that the ruler was wounded or escaped eastwards from {the clashing of metal weapons} [BATTLE]. Now the slaying of the king is truly heard of out of the south from the great battle; I do not care much for vacillating words of men.

Mss: FskAˣ(145) (Fsk); Kˣ(217r), 22ˣ(102v marg), F(36vb), J1ˣ(134v-135r), J2ˣ(117v) (Hkr); 61(69vb), 53(66ra), 54(67va), 325VIII 2 g(1va), Bb(103ra), Flat(66ra) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] auðar: aldar 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb, auðar auðar Flat;    kenni: so Kˣ, 22ˣmarg, F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 61, 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb, Flat, kennir FskAˣ    [2] ór: í Kˣ, 22ˣmarg, F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ    [4] eða braut of kumnum: at braut hafi komisk Flat;    of: ór 22ˣmarg;    kumnum: komin 22ˣmarg, komna 61    [5] s (‘nu er’): nú hefk 61, 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb;    sunnan: síðan Flat    [6] ór: í 22ˣmarg, J1ˣ, J2ˣ    [7] kannka (‘kann ec ei’): kann eigi J1ˣ, kann ek 61, kanna ek ei Flat;    við: so F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 61, 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb, Flat, at FskAˣ, Kˣ, 22ˣmarg    [8] veifanarorði: ‘uæipanar ordum’ Flat

Editions: Skj: Hallfrøðr Óttarsson vandræðaskáld, 3. Óláfsdrápa, erfidrápa 24: AI, 165, BI, 155, Skald I, 84, NN §§2197, 2452; Fsk 1902-3, 133 (ch. 22), ÍF 29, 162 (ch. 24); Hkr 1893-1901, I, 456-7, IV, 103, ÍF 26, 369-70, Hkr 1991, I, 251 (ÓTHkr ch. 112), F 1871, 166; SHI 3, 9-10, ÓT 1958-2000, II, 293-4 (ch. 256), Flat 1860-8, I, 495.

Context: Follows st. 21 with minimal introduction in most prose texts; ÓT briefly paraphrases the stanza, highlighting the contradictory reports. 

Notes: [1-4]: The tradition seems to have been that Óláfr travelled east after escaping Svǫlðr, via Wendland to Russia, Greece, Syria and/or Jerusalem (ÓTOdd 1932, 241-3, 259-60; ÍF 25, 358, 373) or simply to the Holy Land (Ágr, ÍF 29, 24). Austr ‘eastwards’ (l. 2) is here taken with braut of kumnum ‘escaped, got away’, which supports the claims in the prose sources (or may be the origin of them). It could alternatively mean ‘in the east’ and combine with gnaustan malma ‘the clashing of metal weapons [BATTLE]’ in the same line.  — [1, 3, 4] segir ... frá tyggja sôrum eða braut of kumnum ‘tells ... that the ruler was wounded or escaped’: Lit. ‘tells about the ruler [having been] wounded or [having] got away’. — [1] kenni auðar ‘the master of riches [MAN]’: Probably the skald himself, cf. auðhnykkjanda ‘wealth-strewer’ Hfr Lv 18/6V (Hallfr 21). The kenning could alternatively refer to Óláfr, but this entails a complex syntactic arrangement (suggested as an alternative in Hkr 1991). Fsk’s reading kennir (nom.) could be taken as an apostrophe to an unknown person, unusual in an encomium, or as an attempt to supply a subject immediately after the verb segir ‘tells’. — [7] við ‘for’: The main ms. reading at is difficult to incorporate into the syntax, whereas there is some support for kunna (við) + dat. ‘to care for’ (well attested in ModIcel.; see also Fritzner: kunna 7; CVC: kunna IV. 3); in LP: kunna 1, this phrase is explained differently. — [8] veifanarorði ‘vacillating words’: Veifan is a hap. leg. from verb veifa ‘to wave, vibrate’. Orði is grammatically dat. sg., ‘word’.

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