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Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson (Ólhv)

13th century; volume 2; ed. Lauren Goetting;

2. Hrynhenda (Hryn) - 12

prose works

Óláfr hvítaskáld ‘White Skald’ Þórðarson (Ólhv) was an accomplished Icel. scholar and a prolific poet. Details of his life are documented in Sturlunga saga (Stu), Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar (Hák), and Knýtlinga saga (Knýtl). He was born c. 1210-12 at Staður on Snæfellsness, Iceland, as the eldest son of Þórðr Sturluson and his concubine Þóra. He was the nephew of Snorri Sturluson (SnSt; d. 1241), with whom he spent long periods of time as a young man, and the older brother of Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl; d. 1284). In 1237 he left Iceland with Snorri to embark upon a career as a professional poet at the courts of Scandinavia. According to Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 256-8, 260, 378-84) Óláfr composed poetry in honour of a large number of kings and noblemen, including the following: (in Norway) Jarl Skúli Bárðarson (d. 1240), King Hákon Hákonarson (d. 1263) and his son Hákon ungi ‘the Young’ Hákonarson (d. 1257), Jarl Knútr Hákonarson (d. 1261); (in Sweden) King Eiríkr Eiríkson (d. 1250); (in Denmark) King Valdimarr Valdimarsson (d. 1241). Because of Óláfr’s close association with Valdimarr, from whom he hafði ... margar ágætligar frásagnir ‘got ... many excellent narratives’ (ÍF 35, 315), he is thought by some to have written Knýtl, which recounts the history of Dan. rulers (see LH 1894-1901, II, 275, 784-5). Around 1242 Óláfr returned to Iceland and founded a school at Stafaholt in Borgarfjörður, where he wrote the Third Grammatical Treatise (TGT) and devoted himself to teaching and writing until his death in 1259. In addition to these pursuits, he was ordained subdeacon at some point after his return to Iceland and also served as lawspeaker 1248-50.

Most of Óláfr’s extant poetry consists of encomia to King Hákon Hákonarson and is inserted throughout the prose in Hák. This includes part of Hrynhenda (Ólhv Hryn), one st. from a Poem about Hákon (Ólhv Hák), and two lvv. (Ólhv Lv). One lv. traditionally assigned to him, has been reassigned in the present edn to Óláfr svartaskáld Leggsson (Ólsv Love 3III). Aside from the aforementioned, the remainder of Óláfr’s known poetic works includes two sts from ÁrónsdrápaDrápa about Árón’ (Ólhv ÁrdrIV), composed about his friend Árón Hjǫrleifsson, and two sts from ThómasdrápaDrápa about Thomas (ꜳ Becket)’ (Ólhv ThómdrIII), recorded in the Fourth Grammatical Treatise (FoGT). Finally, nine fragments of sts from TGT (Ólhv FragIII), treated as anonymous in previous eds, are attributed to Óláfr in this edn.

Hrynhenda (‘Falling, flowing metre’) — Ólhv HrynII

Lauren Goetting 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda’ 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. 658-70.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12 

Skj: Óláfr Þórðarson hvítaskáld: 2. Et hrynhent digt, 1240 (AII, 93-7, BII, 105-8)

SkP info: II, 659-60

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — Ólhv Hryn 2II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Lauren Goetting (ed.) 2009, ‘Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 2’ 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. 659-60.

Orð sendi þá jǫfri Þrœnda
afrendr konungr víða lendum;
fólkprúðr keyrði flota breiðan
— flugu borð of haf — stillir norðan.
Fyrðar mæltu á hendr sem harðast
— hófsk ǫnn af því lendum mǫnnum —
— errinn bjó með herskip harri
Hákarlastrǫnd — frǫmum jarli.

Afrendr konungr sendi þá orð {víða lendum jǫfri Þrœnda}; fólkprúðr stillir keyrði breiðan flota norðan; borð flugu of haf. Fyrðar mæltu sem harðast á hendr frǫmum jarli; af því hófsk ǫnn lendum mǫnnum; errinn harri bjó Hákarlastrǫnd með herskip.

The valiant king then sent word to {the wide-landed prince of the Þrœndir} [= Skúli]; the battle-brave ruler led a great fleet from the north; the ship-planks flew across the sea. People spoke very harshly against the excellent jarl; from this there arose trouble for the district chieftains; the bold lord filled Hákarlastrǫnd with warships.

Mss: E(164v), F(104ra), 42ˣ(140v), 81a(96va), 304ˣ(304r), Flat(174va) (Hák)

Readings: [1] sendi: seldi Flat;    Þrœnda: om. 81a    [2] lendum: ‘londum’ 42ˣ    [3] flota: flota svá Flat    [4] flugu: ‘fludu’ 304ˣ, flugu þá Flat;    borð: borg F;    haf stillir: stillir 304ˣ, hafit Flat    [5] mæltu: mæla 304ˣ    [6] mǫnnum: om. 81a    [7] errinn: so all others, œrrinn E    [8] Hákarla‑: ‘harla’ 304ˣ;    frǫmum: fyr aumum 42ˣ, frá mínum 304ˣ

Editions: Skj: Óláfr Þórðarson hvítaskáld, 2. Et hrynhent digt 2: AII, 93, BII, 105, Skald II, 56; E 1916, 562, F 1871, 482, Hák 1910-86, 475, Hák 1977-82, 89, Flat 1860-8, III, 107.

Context: In 1233, Hákon invited Jarl Skúli Bárðarson to Bergen in order to discuss tensions that had arisen between their followers.  Skúli sailed from Trondheim to Bergen with his fleet, but when he arrived at the landing docks, he found them already crowded by the king’s ships.  He was forced to moor his fleet elsewhere, where it was badly damaged by storms.

Notes: [1] jǫfri Þrœnda ‘prince of the Þrœndir [= Skúli]’: Skúli’s power was centralised in Trøndelag, while Hákon had strong support in Bergen and Oslo. — [6] af því hófsk ǫnn lendum mǫnnum ‘from this there arouse trouble for the district chieftains’: Skúli expressed his disfavour to the king’s lendir menn ‘district chieftains’ who had spoken against him in Bergen (see Note to st. 3/3 below). After Skúli usurped the throne of Norway in 1239, he arranged for the death of all the king’s liegemen that his forces could reach. For lendir menn, see also Note to Þham Magndr 1/6-7. — [8] Hákarlastrǫnd: Lit. ‘Shark-beach’, extending from Nordnespynten to Tollboden in Bergen.

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated