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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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 26 September 2021)

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8 

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

SkP info: I, 481

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — Hókr Eirfl 6I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2012, ‘Halldórr ókristni, Eiríksflokkr 6’ 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. 481.

Hét á heiptarnýta
hugreifr — með Ôleifi
aptr stǫkk þjóð of þoptur —
þengill sína drengi,
þás hafvita hǫfðu
hallands of gram snjallan
— varð fyr Vinða myrði
vápneiðr — lokit skeiðum.

Hugreifr þengill hét á heiptarnýta drengi sína — þjóð stǫkk aptr of þoptur með Ôleifi —, þás hǫfðu lokit skeiðum {hallands {hafvita}} of snjallan gram; {vápneiðr} varð fyr {myrði Vinða}.

The glad-hearted ruler [Eiríkr] called on his battle-worthy warriors — men sprang aft across the rowing-benches with Óláfr —, when they had enclosed the warships {of the diminisher {of the ocean-beacon}} [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN = Eiríkr] around the valiant lord [Óláfr]; {a weapon-oath} [BATTLE] took place before {the murderer of Wends} [= Eiríkr].

Mss: (214v), F(36va), J1ˣ(133r-v), J2ˣ(116r), 325VIII 1(5vb) (Hkr); 61(68vb), 53(65ra), 54(66rb), Bb(101vb) (ÓT); Holm18(53v), 310(91), 4-7(1va) (ÓTOdd); FskAˣ(141) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] ‑nýta: neyta Bb    [2] ‑reifr: ‘reif[…]’ 325VIII 1;    með: ‘[…]’ 325VIII 1    [3] stǫkk: ‘stauk’ J1ˣ, ‘hné’ 310, hneig 4‑7;    of: á F, 310    [4] sína: ‘[…]’ 325VIII 1    [5] ‑vita: ‘‑urta’ 54, ‘‑vrta’ Bb    [6] hallands: hall lands F, ‘hallz’ J2ˣ, ‘halldz’ 325VIII 1;    snjallan: ‘[…]an’ 325VIII 1    [7] fyr: af Holm18, of 310, um FskAˣ, 4‑7    [8] ‑eiðr: ‘eirðr’ Holm18, reið FskAˣ;    skeiðum: ‘ske[…]’ 325VIII 1

Editions: Skj: Haldórr ókristni, Eiríksflokkr 6: AI, 204, BI, 194, Skald I, 102, NN §§687 anm., 1975, 1976; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 451-2, IV, 100, ÍF 26, 365 (ÓTHkr ch. 110), F 1871, 165; ÓT 1958-2000, II, 283-4 (ch. 255); Fsk 1902-3, 129-30 (ch. 22), ÍF 29, 158 (ch. 24); ÓTOdd 1932, 228-9, ÍF 25, 344.

Context: According to Hkr and ÓT, so many men have fallen on board Ormr inn langi that the ship is almost empty, and Eiríkr jarl’s men begin to board it. The remaining defenders retreat towards the stern of the ship where Óláfr is standing. The stanza is cited for its description of Eiríkr urging his men on. The narrative is briefer in Fsk and ÓTOdd: Óláfr’s men have retreated to the raised after-deck (lypting) of the ship, and Eiríkr’s men board and attack Óláfr from all sides.

Notes: [1] heiptarnýta ‘battle-worthy’: Taken as a cpd here (see similar compounds, such as heiptarfullr ‘wrath-filled’, in LP). It could alternatively be read as two words (so Skj B, ÍF 26 and ÍF 29). — [2]: The line recalls Hfr ErfÓl 27/2 hugreifum Ôleifi. — [5, 6] hallands hafvita ‘of the diminisher of the ocean-beacon [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN = Eiríkr]’: This kenning is problematic. Hafvita ‘of the ocean-beacon’ (l. 5) can only be a kenning for ‘gold’ functioning as the determinant of a another kenning (or qualifying another noun), and the only apparent candidate for a base-word is hallands (l. 6), a word that can either denote the (then) Danish district of Halland or mean ‘of the rocky, mountainous land’. (a) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B; following Konráð Gíslason 1892, 144) emends to hallendr (m. nom. pl.), a nomen agentis from the verb halla ‘pour out, lean to one side’ (see LP: halla), which he construes as the subject of hǫfðu ‘had’ (l. 5). Kock (Skald) adopts that emendation, but argues (NN §1975) that hallendr is used in the more general sense ‘diminishers’ (-förminskare). (b) Because all mss have a form of this word that ends in a gen. sg. ‑s, Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 26; followed by ÍF 29 and, tentatively, the present edn), takes hallands as the gen. sg. of the agent noun hallandi (cf. the pl. hallendr above). The usual gen. sg. form of that noun is hallanda, but forms ending in ‑nds are attested in compounds (see ANG §422 Anm. 4). (c) Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson also suggests tentatively that hallands could mean ‘of the rocky land [NORWAY]’ which could qualify gram ‘lord’ (l. 6) and refer to Óláfr as king of Norway. If so, the gold-kenning hafvita ‘of the ocean-beacon’ can only be construed with skeiðum ‘with warships’ (l. 8), i.e. skeiðum hafvita ‘with warships of gold’, but that interpretation is at best tenuous. — [7]: This line recalls both Eskál Vell 23/1 Varð fyr Vinða myrði and Hfr ErfÓl 7/1 varð of Vinða myrði. As in the latter poem, it is not quite clear whether myrði Vinða ‘the murderer of Wends’ refers to Óláfr or Eiríkr (see Note to Hfr ErfÓl 7/1). Von See (1977a, 116) argues that Halldórr could well have used the kenning consciously to eulogise Eiríkr by comparing him to his father Hákon (see Introduction above), and that interpretation has been adopted in the present edn. — [8] vápneiðr ‘a weapon-oath [BATTLE]’: This is a somewhat untraditional kenning for ‘battle’ but, as Kock (NN §1976) points out, words denoting ‘speech, song’ etc. do occur as base-words in battle-kennings (see, e.g., senna fráns leggbita ‘the flyting of the glittering leg-biter’, st. 4/6, 7 above, and senna vápna ‘the flyting of weapons’, Hfr ErfÓl 3/2). Skj B adopts the FskAˣ variant vápnreið ‘weapon-motion [BATTLE]’.

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