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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, 662-3

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — Ólhv Hryn 5II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Lauren Goetting (ed.) 2009, ‘Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 5’ 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. 662-3.

Snjallir fóru mága í millum
menn; seldusk þeir gísla tvenna;
sýnni tók þá sætt, es funnusk
snarir bragningar, herr at magna.
Nafnbœtr jók, sás Nóregs gætir,
niðjum prýddr, ok sikling skrýddi
bjǫrtu heiti bǫðvarfljótan,
blíðs hertoga, gjǫfum fríðum.

Snjallir menn fóru í millum mága; þeir seldusk tvenna gísla; herr tók þá at magna sýnni sætt, es snarir bragningar funnusk. Jók, sás gætir Nóregs, prýddr niðjum, nafnbœtr blíðs hertoga bjǫrtu heiti, ok skrýddi bǫðvarfljótan sikling fríðum gjǫfum.

Good men mediated between the relatives; they exchanged two hostages; people then set about to ensure a secure reconciliation when the brave leaders met. He who protects Norway, of famous descent, increased the rank of the well-disposed duke with an illustrious title and provided the battle-swift prince with beautiful gifts.

Mss: E(167r), F(105va), 42ˣ(145v-146r), 81a(99r), 304ˣ(309r), Flat(175va) (Hák)

Readings: [1] Snjallir: so F, 42ˣ, 304ˣ, Flat, ‘Snallir’ E, snjallr 81a;    fóru: fór 81a;    í: om. F, 304ˣ;    millum: milli F    [2] þeir: þar F;    tvenna: so all others, tvinna E    [3] sýnni: svinnr 81a, ‘sinnj’ 304ˣ;    tók: tóku 42ˣ;    þá sætt: sætt þá 42ˣ, sætt 81a;    funnusk: so F, 304ˣ, ‘fynnizt’ E, fundusk 42ˣ, 81a, Flat    [5] sás (‘sá er’): om. 81a    [6] prýddr: prýðisk 42ˣ, prýddusk 81a, ‘prudur’ 304ˣ;    ok: om. 42ˣ;    skrýddi: ‘skrudi’ 304ˣ    [7] heiti: heitu Flat    [8] blíðs: blíðr Flat

Editions: Skj: Óláfr Þórðarson hvítaskáld, 2. Et hrynhent digt 5: AII, 94, BII, 106, Skald II, 56, NN §1345; E 1916, 571, F 1871, 489, Hák 1910-86, 494-5, Hák 1977-82, 98, Flat 1860-8, III, 117.

Context: In the spring of 1237, Hákon conferred the title of hertogi ‘duke’, which no Norwegian had previously held, on Skúli at Øretinget in Trondheim.

Notes: [1] mága ‘relatives’: Hákon married Skúli’s daughter Margrét in 1225, making them son-in-law and father-in-law. — [2] tvenna ‘two’: The OIcel. form tvenna (so F, 42ˣ, 81a, Flat) is required for full internal rhyme in l. 2 (menn : tvenna). The form tvinna (so E) is older and specific to ONorw. (see ANG §445 Anm. 4). — [5] nafnbœtr (f. acc. pl.) ‘rank’: Lit. ‘name-improvements’ (nafnbót, sg.). This is the only occurrence of the word in poetry. — [5] sás gætir Nóregs ‘who protects Norway’: The verb gæta ‘protect, watch over’ takes a gen. object. — [6] prýddr niðjum ‘of famous descent’: Lit. ‘adorned with ancestors’. — [6] skrýddi ‘provided’: Lit. ‘adorned’. — [8] hertoga ‘of the duke’: The title hertogi ‘duke’ (lit. ‘army-leader’) is a late borrowing from MLG hertoge, hertoch ‘duke’. For the disputed origin and history of the word hertogi and its cognates in Gmc, see RGA 14: Herzog. See also Note to Sturl Hákkv 23/8.

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