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:
Eiríksflokkr

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.

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

SkP info: I, 484

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Hókr Eirfl 8I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2012, ‘Halldórr ókristni, Eiríksflokkr 8’ 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. 484.

Hjalmfaldinn bar hilmi
hrings at miklu þingi
— skeiðr glæstu þá þjóðir —
þangat Ormr inn langi.
En sunnr at gný Gunnar
glaðr tók jarl við Naðri;
áðr varð egg at hrjóða
ættgóðr Hemings bróðir.

Ormr inn langi bar hjalmfaldinn hilmi þangat at {miklu þingi hrings}; þjóðir glæstu þá skeiðr. En glaðr jarl tók við Naðri sunnr at {gný Gunnar}; áðr varð {ættgóðr bróðir Hemings} at hrjóða egg.

Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’) carried the helmet-clad ruler [Óláfr] there to {the mighty assembly of the sword} [BATTLE]; troops then adorned the ships. But the cheerful jarl received Naðr (‘Adder’) south at {the din of Gunnr <valkyrie>} [BATTLE]; earlier {the high-born brother of Hemingr} [= Eiríkr] had to redden the blade.

Mss: (217r), F(36vb), J1ˣ(135r), J2ˣ(117v) (Hkr); 61(70ra), 53(66va), 54(68ra), 325VIII 2 g(2ra), Bb(103va), Flat(69va) (ÓT); FskBˣ(38v), FskAˣ(147) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] Hjalm‑: hjal‑ J1ˣ;    hilmi: hilmis 53, hilmir 325VIII 2 g, Bb, FskBˣ    [2] at: af F, 61, 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb, Flat, á FskBˣ    [3] skeiðr: skeið FskBˣ, FskAˣ;    glæstu: om. Bb;    þá: þar 54, 325VIII 2 g, því Bb    [4] þangat: þang at J1ˣ, J2ˣ, þingat FskBˣ, þengat FskAˣ;    Ormr inn: orminn J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VIII 2 g, Flat, FskAˣ, ‘ormrín’ Bb, ‘ormin’ FskBˣ;    langi: langa 325VIII 2 g, Bb, FskBˣ, FskAˣ    [5] sunnr: so 61, 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb, suðr Kˣ, F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, FskBˣ, FskAˣ, sneri Flat;    Gunnar: gumnar FskAˣ    [6] við: viðr FskAˣ    [7] varð: var Bb;    egg: ‘eg’ J1ˣ    [8] ættgóðr: ‘ottꜹðr’ J1ˣ, ótrauðr J2ˣ, 61, 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb, Flat;    Hemings: ‘heímngs’ Bb

Editions: Skj: Haldórr ókristni, Eiríksflokkr 8: AI, 204, BI, 194-5, Skald I, 102; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 457, IV, 103, ÍF 26, 370 (ÓTHkr ch. 113), F 1871, 167; ÓT 1958-2000, II, 297-8 (ch. 258), Flat 1860-8, I, 520; Fsk 1902-3, 135 (ch. 23), ÍF 29, 164 (ch. 25).

Context: After the battle of Svǫlðr, the victorious Eiríkr jarl takes possession of Ormr inn langi along with much booty. He commands the ship himself as he steers away from the battle (so Hkr and ÓT). Fsk relates that Eiríkr and his brother Sveinn go back to Norway, and Eiríkr takes possession of Ormr inn langi.

Notes: [All]: The stanza contrasts Óláfr arriving confidently in Ormr, and the exultant Eiríkr departing in command of it. More common in skaldic poetry is a stanza depicting two fleets approaching each other from different directions; see Note to Sigv Tryggfl 1/1-4. — [All]: In 54, 325VIII 2 g and Bb the stanza is attributed to Hallfreðr. — [1]: The line recalls Eskál Vell 33/1 hjalmfaldinn bauð hildi. — [2] hrings ‘of the sword’: On hringr as a sword-heiti, see Notes to Þhorn Harkv 1/1 and Þul Sverða 7/7III. — [2] at ‘to’: The variant af ‘from’ (so F, 61, 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb, Flat) must have been caused by the prose context, i.e. Eiríkr steering away from the battle on Ormr inn langi, rather than Óláfr arriving at Svǫlðr on that ship, or possibly by the fact that a reference to sailing into battle is unexpected at this point in the poem. — [3] þjóðir glæstu þá skeiðr ‘troops then adorned the ships’: The sense is that the well-equipped warriors lent glory to Óláfr’s fleet. The Fsk variant, skeið (f. acc. sg.) ‘ship’, which is adopted in Skj B, Skald and ÍF 29, focuses the attention on Ormr inn langi and its crew, but it is the minority reading. — [4] Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’): See Note to st. 3/4 above. — [5]: The line recalls Eskál Vell 33/3 hinns fór í gný Gunnar. — [5] sunnr ‘south’: So 61, 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb. The Hkr and Fsk mss have the variant suðr ‘south’, which has been adopted in ÍF 26. It is doubtful, however, whether the conj. en ‘but’ could have been stressed strongly enough to carry the internal rhyme in this line (en : ‑unn- rather than ‑unn- : ‑unn-). — [6]: The line recalls Hfr ErfÓl 16/4 glaðr ok báða Naðra. — [6] Naðri ‘Naðr (“Adder”)’: Another play on synonyms for ormr ‘serpent’ (see Note to st. 3/8 Fáfnis). — [8] ættgóðr ‘high-born’: The variant ótrauðr ‘not reluctant’ (J2ˣ, 61, 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb, Flat), which appears to have entered the ÓT redaction from a Hkr ms. of the Jöfraskinna (y) group, leaves the line with skothending (-auð- : -óð-) rather than aðalhending (-óð- : -óð-). — [8] Hemings ‘of Hemingr’: Hemingr Hákonarson was Eiríkr’s half-brother and very little is known about him (see ÍF 26, 248; ÍF 29, 138).

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