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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, 660-1

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Ólhv Hryn 3II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Lauren Goetting (ed.) 2009, ‘Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 3’ 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. 660-1.

Þing stofnuðu jǫfrar ungir;
jarl veitti svǫr ræsi snarla;
hersar báru á hilmi dýran
— hjaldrs fýstu þeir — sakar kaldar.
Alt lagði þá frǫmuðr frægða
— fekk sætt af því stillir rekka —
snildar skýrs ok seldi várar
sitt mál í kné lituðs stála.

Ungir jǫfrar stofnuðu þing; hersar báru kaldar sakar á dýran hilmi; þeir fýstu hjaldrs; jarl veitti ræsi snarla svǫr. {Frǫmuðr frægða} lagði þá alt mál sitt í kné {snildar skýrs lituðs stála} ok seldi várar; af því fekk {stillir rekka} sætt.

Young lords called an assembly; hersar brought hostile charges against the worthy ruler; they were eager for battle; the jarl gave the king replies quickly. {The promoter of glorious deeds} [WARRIOR = Skúli] then put his entire case into the hands {of the eloquent reddener of weapons} [WARRIOR = Hákon] and gave pledges; by this {the leader of men} [RULER = Skúli] attained reconciliation.

Mss: E(165r), F(104rb), 42ˣ(141r), 81a(96vb), 304ˣ(304v), 325VIII 5 b(1r), Flat(174va) (Hák)

Readings: [1] Þing stofnuðu: Enn þing stefndu 304ˣ;    jǫfrar ungir: so F, 325VIII 5 b, Flat, jǫfra runnar E, 42ˣ, 81a, 304ˣ    [2] svǫr: svar 81a;    ræsi snarla: ræsis varla 42ˣ, ræsi snjalla 325VIII 5 b    [3] hersar: so F, 42ˣ, 81a, 304ˣ, hersa E, hersir 325VIII 5 b, Flat;    báru: ‘bar þa’ corrected from ‘bꜳ þu’ Flat;    á: af 304ˣ, om. Flat;    dýran: snjallan 42ˣ    [4] sakar: sakir 42ˣ, 304ˣ, Flat    [5] frǫmuðr: ‘fromur’ 81a    [6] sætt af því: sætt af F, ‘svor a þvi’ 42ˣ, af því 81a;    stillir: om. 81a;    rekka: ‘rekta’(?) 304ˣ    [7] snildar skýrs ok seldi várar: seldi af því sendir 81a, snildar skýrs ok síðan seldi 304ˣ;    snildar: so F, 42ˣ, 325VIII 5 b, Flat, ‘sialldar’ E;    skýrs: styrs F, skýrr Flat;    várar: so 325VIII 5 b, ‘vara’ E, vára F, ‘vora’ 42ˣ, varrar Flat    [8] í kné: om. 81a, 325VIII 5 b, konungi written in the left margin Flat;    lituðs: litaðs E, 42ˣ, 81a, 304ˣ, lituðr F, Flat, om. 325VIII 5 b;    stála: om. 325VIII 5 b

Editions: Skj: Óláfr Þórðarson hvítaskáld, 2. Et hrynhent digt 3: AII, 93-4, BII, 105, Skald II, 56, NN §2279; E 1916, 563, F 1871, 483, Hák 1910-86, 477, Hák 1977-82, 90, Flat 1860-8, III, 108.

Context: Hákon and his followers brought charges against Skúli at an assembly in Bergen, and Skúli defended himself with a long, clever speech. A reconciliation between Hákon and Skúli was effected by the archbishop and bishops in attendance there.

Notes: [All]: See also Anon (Hák) 2. — [3] hersar: This term is used synonymously with lendir menn ‘district chieftains’ in st. 2/6 above to refer to the king’s liegemen. The interchangeability of the terms is mentioned in Skáldskaparmál (SnE 1998, I, 80): ok er þat háttr konunga at setja þar réttara yfir svá mǫrg heruð sem hann gefr vald yfir ok heita þeir hersar eða lendir menn í Danskri tungu ‘and it is the kings’ custom to appoint judicial administrators over as many herǫð as he delegates power over, and these are called hersar or lendir menn in the Scandinavian language’. — [7] snildar skýrs ‘eloquent’: Lit. ‘clear of eloquence’. The adj. skýrs ‘clear’ (m. gen. sg.) agrees with lituðs (m. gen. sg.) ‘reddener’ (l. 8), and so snildar skýrs ‘eloquent’ is taken with lituðs stála ‘reddener of weapons’ i.e. ‘warrior’ (l. 8) to refer to Hákon. The Flat variant skýrr (m. nom. sg.) ‘clear’ agrees with stillir (m. nom. sg.) ‘leader’ (l. 6), thereby associating snildar skýrr ‘eloquent’ with stillir rekka ‘leader of men’ i.e. ‘ruler’ (l. 6) in reference to Skúli. Though it is syntactically simpler and contextually preferable to assign the epithet ‘eloquent’ to Skúli, since he is the one pleading his case, the Flat variant appears to be a lectio facilior. See also NN §2279. — [8] í kné ‘into the hands’: Lit. ‘onto the knees’. — [8] lituðs ‘of the reddener’: Nomen agentis from lita ‘redden, colour’. The emendation is necessary for the warrior-kenning lituðs stála ‘of the reddener of weapons’.

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