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Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson (Hfr)

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

2. Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar (ErfÓl) - 29

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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 23 September 2021)

stanzas:  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


lemmatised words

This information has not been reviewed and should not be referred to.

3at (prep.) ‘at, to...’ — 22/7 var

4at (conj.) ‘that...’ — 22/4 var

1auðr (noun m.) [°-s/-ar, dat. -i/-] ‘wealth...’auðar 22/1

3austr (adv.) [°compar. -ar, superl. -ast] ‘east, in the east...’ — 22/2

1braut (noun f.) [°dat. -/-u; -ir] ‘path, way; away...’ — 22/4

eða (conj.) ‘or...’ — 22/4

2enn (adv.) ‘still, yet, again...’ — 22/1

2er (conj.) ‘who, which, when...’s 22/5

frá (prep.) ‘from...’ — 22/3

1fregna (verb) ‘hear of...’fregit 22/5

gnaustan (noun f.) ‘[clashing]...’ — 22/2

haf (noun n.) [°-s; *-] ‘sea...’hafi 22/4 var

hafa (verb) ‘have...’hefk 22/5 var

í (prep.) ‘in, into...’ — 22/2 var, 22/6 var

3kanna (verb) ‘know, be able...’kannka 22/7

kennir (noun m.) ‘teacher...’kenni 22/1, 22/1 var

koma (verb) [kem, kom/kvam, kominn] ‘come...’komin 22/4 var, komisk 22/4 var, komna 22/4 var, kumnum 22/4

maðr (noun m.) ‘man, person...’manna 22/7

malmr (noun m.) [°-s, dat. -i; -ar] ‘metal...’malma 22/2

2margr (adj.) [°-an] ‘many...’mart 22/7

mikill (adj.) [°mikinn] ‘great, large...’miklum 22/6

1morð (noun n.) [°-s; -] ‘killing, battle...’ — 22/8

(adv.) ‘now...’ — 22/5

4of (particle) ‘(before verb)...’ — 22/4

orð (noun n.) [°-s; -] ‘word...’orði 22/8, orðum 22/8 var

3ór (prep.) ‘out of...’ — 22/2, 22/4 var, 22/6

1sannfregna (verb) ‘[truly heard]...’sannfregit 22/5

2sannr (adj.) [°-an; compar. -ari, superl. -astr] ‘true...’sann 22/5

sárr (adj.) [°compar. -ari, superl. -astr] ‘sore, painful; wounded...’sôrum 22/3

seggr (noun m.) [°; -ir] ‘man...’ — 22/3

segja (verb) ‘say, tell...’segir 22/1

siklingr (noun m.) [°; -ar] ‘king, ruler...’siklings 22/6

síðan (adv.) ‘later, then...’ — 22/5 var

styrr (noun m.) [°dat. -] ‘battle...’styr 22/6

2sumr (pron.) ‘some...’ — 22/4

sunnan (adv.) ‘(from the) south...’ — 22/5

tyggi (noun m.) ‘prince, sovereign...’tyggja 22/3

veifan (noun f.) ‘[vacillating]...’veifanar 22/8

veipa (noun f.) [°; dat. -um] ‘°(om hovedbeklædning) tørklæde, hætte...’veipanar 22/8 var

2við (prep.) ‘with, against...’ — 22/7

ǫld (noun f.) [°; aldir] ‘people, age...’aldar 22/1 var


Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated