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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, 414

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

9 — Hfr ErfÓl 9I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 9’ 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. 414.

Leitt hykk Leifa brautar
lognôrungum vôru
geirs við gumna stjóra
geigurþing at eiga,
þás fákhlaðendr frœknir
farligs at vin jarla
húfs með hamri þœfðar
hrings skyrtur framm gingu.

Hykk vôru leitt {{{Leifa brautar} log}nôrungum} at eiga {geigurþing geirs} við {stjóra gumna}, þás {frœknir {farligs húfs fák}hlaðendr} gingu framm at {vin jarla} með {skyrtur hrings}, þœfðar hamri.

I think it was hateful {to possessors {of the flame {of the road of Leifi <sea-king>}}} [(lit. ‘flame-possessors of the road of Leifi’) SEA > GOLD > MEN] to hold {the dangerous meeting of the spear} [BATTLE] with {the steerer of men} [RULER], when {bold loaders {of the steed of excellent planking}} [(lit. ‘steed-loaders of planking’) SHIP > SEAFARERS] advanced against {the friend of jarls} [KING] with {shirts of the ring} [MAIL-SHIRTS], beaten with the hammer.

Mss: 54(64rb), Bb(100ra), Flat(64va) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] Leitt: so Flat, ‘Le tít’ 54, ‘Letít id’ Bb    [2] log‑: lǫg‑ Flat;    ‑nôrungum: so Flat, ‘‑tarningum’ 54, ‘‑tręníngum’ Bb    [3] stjóra: stjórar Flat    [4] geigur‑: so Flat, geigr‑ 54, Bb    [5] fák‑: ‘fack’ Bb, frek Flat    [6] farligs: ‘farleggs’ Flat    [7] húfs: úfs Flat;    hamri: harmi Bb;    þœfðar: ‘hefdar’ Flat    [8] hrings: hring Bb, Flat

Editions: Skj: Hallfrøðr Óttarsson vandræðaskáld, 3. Óláfsdrápa, erfidrápa 9: AI, 161, BI, 152, Skald I, 83; SHI 2, 306-7, ÓT 1958-2000, II, 270 (ch. 250), Flat 1860-8, I, 484.

Context: The Swedes tire of holding out against Óláfr and his men.

Notes: [2] -nôrungum ‘to possessors’: Here, as with Leitt (l. 1), only Flat’s reading makes sense. Nôrungar, a laudatory epithet only attested in the pl., has a variant form seen in gunnœringar Hávh Lv 14/6V (Háv 15), and is usually glossed ‘nourisher’ from nœra ‘to nourish’ (AEW: nárungar; LP: lognôrungar), but these are probably late developments (Meissner 350), and this ancient word seems instead to stem from the root *ner ‘strong, strength’ (Falk 1928a, 319). — [6] vin jarla ‘the friend of jarls [KING]’: This could, given the context, refer to an ally of Óláfr’s adversary Eiríkr Hákonarson, jarl of Hlaðir (Lade), but it is a conventional king-kenning, and Óláfr may be meant. — [7] þœfðar ‘beaten’: The epithet þœfðr hamri ‘beaten with the hammer’ occurs several times in later poetry (LP: þœfa 2). In Flat, ‘hefdar’ (perhaps hœfðar ‘hit, struck’, SHI 2) may represent a scribal attempt to make good the alliterative stave lost by reading úfs rather than húfs at the beginning of l. 7. — [8] skyrtur hrings ‘shirts of the ring [MAIL-SHIRTS]’: (Hrings skyrtur in Text order.) Hringskyrtur ‘ring-shirts’ in Flat and Bb is equally possible, and is preferred in Skj B and Skald.

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