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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Halldórr ókristni (Hókr)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Eiríksflokkr (Eirfl) - 8

Skj info: Haldórr ókristni, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 202-204, BI, 193-195).

Skj poems:

Nothing is known about Halldórr ókristni ‘the Un-Christian’ (Hókr) aside from the fact that, according to Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 257, 266, 280), he was one of Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson’s poets. His nickname indicates that he must have been reluctant to convert to Christianity, and it is not surprising that he is connected with the court of the jarls of Hlaðir (Lade), given that Eiríkr’s father, Hákon jarl Sigurðarson, was the last heathen ruler of Norway. The eight stanzas below are what remain of Halldórr’s poetic oeuvre, and they show that he was well versed in myth and heroic legend and, in particular, that he was familiar with the poetry of earlier and contemporary skalds. In Skj, Finnur Jónsson gives his ethnicity as Icelandic, but that cannot be ascertained.

Eiríksflokkr (‘Flokkr about Eiríkr’) — Hókr EirflI

Kari Ellen Gade 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Halldórr ókristni, Eiríksflokkr’ 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. 469.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8 

Skj: Haldórr ókristni: Eiríksflokkr, o. 1010 (AI, 202-4, BI, 193-5)

SkP info: I, 477

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Hókr Eirfl 4I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2012, ‘Halldórr ókristni, Eiríksflokkr 4’ 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. 477.

Gerðisk snarpra sverða
— slitu drengir frið lengi,
þars gollin spjǫr gullu —
gangr of Orm inn langa.
Dolgs kvôðu framm fylgja
fráns leggbita hônum
sœnska menn at sennu
sunnr ok danska runna.

Gangr snarpra sverða gerðisk of Orm inn langa; drengir slitu frið lengi, þars gollin spjǫr gullu. Kvôðu sœnska menn ok {danska runna dolgs} fylgja hônum framm sunnr at {sennu {fráns leggbita}}.

A tumult of sharp swords took place on Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’); warriors demolished the peace for a long time where golden spears resounded. They said that Swedish men and {Danish bushes of battle} [WARRIORS] followed him [Eiríkr] forward in the south at {the flyting {of the glittering leg-biter}} [SWORD > BATTLE].

Mss: (212r), F(36ra), J1ˣ(131v), J2ˣ(114v), 325VIII 1(5rb) (Hkr); 54(64va), Bb(100rb), Flat(64vb) (ÓT); FskAˣ(139) (Fsk); Holm18(53r), 310(89), 4-7(1rb) (ÓTOdd)

Readings: [1] Gerðisk: ‘[…]ðiz’ 325VIII 1, Gerðis 310    [3] þars (‘þar er’): ‘þar[…]’ 325VIII 1, ‘þarer er’ Flat, þá er FskAˣ, 4‑7;    gollin: so 54, Flat, gullin Kˣ, F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, FskAˣ, Holm18, 310, ‘[…]ín’ 325VIII 1, golli‑ Bb, ‘gyllín’ 4‑7    [4] of: á J1ˣ, J2ˣ;    Orm inn: ‘ormin’ FskAˣ, Holm18    [5] Dolgs: ‘d[…]’ 325VIII 1, ‘duerks’ Flat;    kvôðu: ‘kuþu’ J1ˣ, ‘kuðu’ J2ˣ, ‘kuað[...]’ 4‑7;    framm: ‘[…]’ 4‑7;    fylgja: fljúga 325VIII 1    [6] fráns: frán F, Holm18, 310, ‘frons’ 4‑7;    leggbita: leggs víta F, legbita J1ˣ, leygs boða Holm18    [7] sœnska: ‘[…]ka’ 325VIII 1, svænska 54, Bb, FskAˣ, 310, ‘senska’ Holm18;    at: ok J1ˣ, í J2ˣ;    sennu: ‘sonno’ 325VIII 1    [8] sunnr: suðr 325VIII 1, 310, sunz 4‑7;    ok: í FskAˣ;    danska: danskra Flat

Editions: Skj: Haldórr ókristni, Eiríksflokkr 4: AI, 203, BI, 193-4, Skald I, 102, NN §2988A; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 445, IV, 97-8, ÍF 26, 360 (ÓTHkr ch. 106), F 1871, 163; ÓT 1958-2000, II, 272 (ch. 251), Flat 1860-8, I, 485 ; Fsk 1902-3, 127-8 (ch. 22), ÍF 29, 156 (ch. 24); ÓTOdd 1932, 222-3, ÍF 25, 338.

Context: In Fsk and ÓTOdd this stanza follows immediately after st. 3, whereas in Hkr and ÓT it describes the preamble to the final battle on Ormr inn langi and precedes st. 3 (see Introduction above). According to that version, the Swedish and Danish troops attack Óláfr’s ships, while Eiríkr is always fighting alongside the ships, engaging in hand to hand battle. When men fall on his ship, they are immediately replaced by Swedish and Danish warriors.

Notes: [1]: With this line, compare Bjbp Jóms 28/5 grimmr var snarpra sverða and Hfr ErfÓl 17/3 snǫrp varð at þat sverða. — [2]: The rhyme words dreng- and leng- also occur in Hfr ErfÓl 10/8. — [2] lengi ‘for a long time’: This adv. could alternatively go with the first clause of the helmingr (so Skald; NN §2988A; ÍF 26). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) takes it with the second intercalary clause, hence þars gollin spjǫr gullu lengi ‘where golden spears resounded for a long time’, which is less likely. — [3] gollin spjǫr ‘golden spears’: Spearheads and spear sockets could be inlaid or decorated with gold and silver (see Falk 1914b, 88-9). The 54 variant gollin has been adopted here rather than gullin (so the majority of the ms. witnesses), because [u] is not attested in internal rhyme until the C12th (see LP: goll, gull). — [4] Orm inn langa ‘Ormr inn langi (“the Long Serpent”)’: See Note to st. 3/4 above. The line is echoed in HSt Rst 19/4 (see also Rst 22/4). — [5] kvôðu ‘they said’: Construed with the inf. fylgja ‘follow’ (l. 5). The use of the verb shows that Halldórr, just like Hallfreðr, was not present at the battle but is basing his account on hearsay. — [6] leggbita ‘leg-biter [SWORD]’: Leggbiti (or Leggbítr) was the name of the sword of King Magnús berfœttr ‘Barelegs’ Óláfsson (d. 1103), but the word must be used here as a kenning belonging to a rare type in which a sword is personified (see Meissner 163-4 and Note to Þul Sverða 2/5III). — [7]: The rhyme words menn and sennu are also used in Hfr ErfÓl 10/8. — [8]: The line is reminiscent of Eskál Vell 25/4 sunnr Danmarkar runnu; see Introduction on the relationship of Eirfl to Vell.

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