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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson (Hharð)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

2. Lausavísur (Lv) - 15

Skj info: Haraldr Sigurðarson harðráði, Norsk konge, 1046-66. (AI, 356-61, BI, 328-32).

Skj poems:

See ‘Royal Biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.

Vol. II. Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: from c. 1035 to c. 1300 > 8. Introduction > 5. Biographies > 1. Royal Biographies > 1. Kings of Norway > g. Haraldr III harðráði Sigurðarson (Hharð) (r. 1046-66)

Sagas: ÓH, MH, HSig (Ágr, Flat, Fsk, H-Hr, Hkr, Mork, Theodoricus).

Haraldr harðráði ‘Hard-rule’ Sigurðarson was the son of Sigurðr sýr ‘Sow’ and Ásta Guðbrandsdóttir (see Genealogy II.2.f in ÍF 28). He fought alongside his half-brother, Óláfr Haraldsson (S. Óláfr), at the battle of Stiklestad (29 July 1030) and escaped wounded from the battlefield to seek refuge in Russia. After spending some years in the service of Jaroslav of Novgorod, he proceeded from Russia to Byzantium, where he served as a mercenary in the Varangian army before his return to Norway via Russia and Sweden in 1045/46. From 1046 he ruled jointly with his nephew, Magnús inn góði, and after Magnús’s death (25 October 1047) Haraldr was the sole ruler of Norway until he fell at the battle of Stamford Bridge (on 25 September 1066). See Anon Nkt 38-9, Theodoricus (MHN 50-1, 54-7; McDougall and McDougall 1998, 38-9, 43-46), Ágr (ÍF 29, 36-40; Ágr 1995, 52-9), Mork (Mork 1928-32, 55-281; Andersson and Gade 2000, 129-274), Fsk (ÍF 29, 227-90; Finlay 2004, 181-232), ÓHHkr (ÍF 27, 107-8, 347-8, 364; Hollander 1991, 314-15, 488-9, 500-1), HSigHkr (ÍF 28, 68-202; Hollander 1991, 577-663), Flat (Flat 1860-8, III, 287-432), H-Hr (Fms 6, 127-432). See also Hem (Hb 1892-6, 331-49; Fellows-Jensen 1962, 1-64), , Knýtl (ÍF 35, 132-3, 151; Hermann Pálsson and Edwards 1986, 46-7, 60), Orkn (ÍF 34, 53-4, 75-8, 80, 86-7, 339; Hermann Pálsson and Edwards 1987, 56-7, 71-4, 77-8).

Events documented in poetry: The battle of Stiklestad (1030) and Haraldr’s escape to Sweden (Hharð Gamv 1; Hharð Lv 1, 2a-2b; ÞjóðA Sex 1); his journey to Russia and his Russian campaigns 1031-3 (ÞjóðA Run 1, 3; Bǫlv Hardr 1); his journey to Constantinople and his campaigns as a mercenary in the Varangian army 1034-42 (Hharð Gamv 2, 4; Hharð Lv 10-11; Þjóð Sex 2-8; ÞjóðA Lv 4; Ill Har 2-4; Bǫlv Hardr 2-6; ÞSkegg Hardr; Valg Hardr 1-4; Þfisk Lv 2-3; Stúfr Stúfdr 2-3); his return to Russia and marriage to Ellisif (Stúfr Stúfdr 4); his journey to Sweden and his harrying in Denmark with Sveinn Úlfsson (ÞjóðA Sex 9; Valg Hardr 5-9); his meeting and reconciliation with Magnús inn góði (ÞjóðA Sex 10; ÞjóðA Frag 1; Bǫlv Hardr 7); his dealings with Magnús (Mgóð Lv 1; Hharð Lv 3); his return to Norway after Magnús’s death in Denmark in 1047 (Valg Hardr 10-11); his first naval campaign against Sveinn Úlfsson and the Danes in 1048 (Hharð Lv 4; ÞjóðA Lv 2; Bǫlv Hardr 8; Grani Har 1-2; Anon (HSig) 1); subsequent campaigns in Denmark against Sveinn (Hharð Lv 5, 10; ÞjóðA Lv 3-4; Arn Hardr 1; Þfagr Sveinn 2-9; Stúfr Stúfdr 5-6; Anon (HSig) 2, 5); the slaying of Einarr þambarskelfir and other enemies (Hharð Lv 6-8; Arn Hardr 1); the desertion of Norwegian magnates to Sveinn in Denmark (ÞjóðA Sex 12); the battle of the Nissan against Sveinn in 1062 (ÞjóðA Sex 13-18; ÞjóðA Har 1-7; Arn Hardr 2-4; Stúfr Stúfdr 7; Steinn Nizv; Steinn Úlffl); the peace treaty between Haraldr and Sveinn in 1064 (ÞjóðA Sex 23; Halli XI Fl); Haraldr’s campaign against Hákon Ívarsson (ÞjóðA Lv 9); his dealing with Norwegian insurrection (ÞjóðA Sex 19-22; Arn Hardr 5-6); the events leading up to the English campaign in 1066 (Hjǫrtr Lv 1-3; Úlfr Lv; Anon (HSig 6-9); the battles of Fulford and Stamford Bridge (Hharð Lv 13-14; ÞjóðA Lv 10-11; Arn Hardr 7-16; Stúfr Stúfdr 8; Steinn Óldr 1-3; Anon Harst). For þættir and smaller anecdotes involving Haraldr and other poets, see Haraldr Lv 9, 12; ÞjóðA Lv 4-8; SnH Lv; Þfisk Lv; Anon (HSig) 3-4.

Lausavísur — Hharð LvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson, Lausavísur’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 42-6.

 1   2a   2b   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14 

Skj: Haraldr Sigurðarson harðráði: Lausavísur (AI, 356-61, BI, 328-32); stanzas (if different): 2/1-4 | 2/5-8 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19

SkP info: II, 42-3

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Hharð Lv 1II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson, Lausavísur 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 42-3.

Lv 1 (Hharð Lv 1) is transmitted in Hkr (), in ÓH (see the mss below), in ÓHLeg (DG8), Fsk (FskBˣ, FskAˣ) and H-Hr (H, Hr). The st. is also found in AM 75e fol 4 (75e 4) of ÓH at the top of fol. 1rb, but the text is now illegible. Because Finnur Jónsson could read some of the st. in that ms., Skj A (75e 4FJ) has also been considered in the present edn. is the main ms.

Þora munk þann arm verja,
— þats ekkju munr nekkvat —
— rjóðum vér af reiði
rǫnd — es í hlýtk standa.
Gengra greppr inn ungi
gunnblíðr, þars slǫg ríða,
— herða menn at morði
mót — á hæl fyr spjótum.

Munk þora verja þann arm, es hlýtk standa í; þats nekkvat munr ekkju; rjóðum vér rǫnd af reiði. Inn ungi greppr gengra gunnblíðr á hæl fyr spjótum, þars slǫg ríða; menn herða mót at morði.

I shall dare to defend that rank in which I am placed; that seems to be the wish of the widow; let us redden the shield-rim with rage. The young poet shall not take to his heels, battle-cheered, before spears where weapons swing; men will intensify hostile encounters in the battle.

Mss: (459v) (Hkr); Holm2(65r), J2ˣ(221r), 972ˣ(499va), 972ˣ(499vb), 321ˣ(249), 73aˣ(196r), 68(64v), Holm4(60rb), 325VII(36r), 325V(78vb-79ra), 61(123ra), Flat(123rb), Tóm(153r), Bb(196v), 75e 4(1rb) (ÓH); DG8(99v) (ÓHLeg); FskBˣ(51r), FskAˣ(190) (Fsk); H(20v), Hr(15vb) (H-Hr)

Readings: [1] Þora munk þann arm verja: ‘[…]’ 75e 4FJ;    munk (‘mvn ec’): man ek DG8, FskBˣ, FskAˣ, mun H;    þann arm: ‘tha orm’ 972ˣ(499vb);    verja: ‘vera’ Tóm    [2] þats ekkju munr nekkvat: ‘[…]’ 75e 4FJ;    þats (‘þat er’): þat 972ˣ(499va), ‘tha er’ 972ˣ(499vb);    ekkju: ‘ækki’ FskAˣ;    munr: mun H;    nekkvat: ‘neccved’ Holm2, nǫkkurr J2ˣ, 972ˣ(499va), 321ˣ, 73aˣ, 325V, 61, Flat, Tóm, Bb, DG8, H, Hr, ‘nekued’ 972ˣ(499vb), ‘nocqvot’ 68, ‘nocquat’ Holm4, ‘nakot’ 325VII, nǫkkut FskBˣ, FskAˣ    [3] rjóðum vér af reiði: ‘[…]’ 75e 4FJ;    rjóðum vér: rjóðim þessa vér 321ˣ;    vér: ‘vond’ 61;    af: með 68    [4] es (‘er’): ef 68, en DG8, FskBˣ;    í hlýtk (‘ec i hlýt’): ek hlýt í 972ˣ(499va), DG8, ‘ek i hlut’ 972ˣ(499vb), ek hlýt 68, 61, ‘ec lut’ FskAˣ, ek hlýt í at Hr    [5] Gengra: gengrat Holm2, J2ˣ, 972ˣ(499va), 321ˣ, 73aˣ, 68, Holm4, 325VII, 325V, 61, Flat, Tóm, Bb, 75e 4FJ, H, Hr, ‘gemrat’ 972ˣ(499vb), ‘gengr æi’ DG8;    greppr inn: ‘greppínn’ 61, ‘greppr en’ Bb, ‘grepp enn’ FskAˣ, ‘greppren’ Hr;    ungi: ‘iunge’ Flat, unga FskAˣ    [6] ‑blíðr: ‑blíðs 73aˣ;    slǫg: ‘staug’ 972ˣ(499vb), þér 61;    ríða: líða 321ˣ, svíða 68    [7] herða menn at morði: ‘mitt rað er þat mæitit’ DG8;    herða: ‘hardi’ 972ˣ(499vb), herðir by correction 325VII, ‘her þa’ Flat, herði Bb    [8] mót: mjór Bb, morð Hr;    á: at 61, om. FskAˣ

Editions: Skj: Haraldr Sigurðarson harðráði, Lausavísur 1: AI, 356, BI, 328, Skald I, 165-6, NN §806, 1902; ÍF 27, 364-5 (ÓH ch. 209); ÓH 1941, I, 550 (ch. 206), Flat 1860-8, II, 344-5 (ÓH); ÓHLeg 1922, 82-1 (ch. 79), ÓHLeg 1982, 188-9 (ch. 79); ÍF 29, 200 (ch. 34); Fms 6, 129 (HSig ch. 1).

Context: Before the battle of Stiklestad (29 July 1030), King Óláfr commands his half-brother, the fifteen-year-old Haraldr, not to engage in the fighting because of his youth. Haraldr responds with this st. In ÓHLeg, the st. is attributed to Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld (ÞormI).

Notes: [All]: For this battle, see also Hharð Lv 2a-b, ÞjóðA Sex 1 and Bǫlv Hardr 1/1-4, as well as a great deal of poetry in SkP I. — [1] arm ‘rank’: Lit. ‘arm’. Denotes a row of soldiers standing side by side, as opposed to a file of soldiers. See also Hskv Hardr 1. — [2] ekkju ‘of the widow’: The identity of the ‘widow’ (or ‘woman’) is obscure, but it could refer to Haraldr’s and Óláfr’s mother, Ásta (see also Notes to Hharð Gamv 5/1 and Hharð Lv 14/2, 3). — [5] greppr ‘poet’: This word can mean either ‘(brave) man’ or ‘poet’ (see Fritzner: greppr; LP: greppr). Because Haraldr was a poet, the latter meaning has been adopted here. — [7] at morði ‘in the battle’: Unlike in prose, where morð denotes ‘murder’ (see Fritzner: morð), the word is used in poetry for ‘battle, fighting, killing’ (LP: morð). Skj B connects the prepositional phrase with the previous cl. (‘where weapons swing in the battle’). That construction creates an awkward w. o. (see NN §806, and, following Kock, so also ÍF 28; ÍF 29). — [8] mót ‘hostile encounters’: For the meaning, see LP: mót A.

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