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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, 664-5

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Ólhv Hryn 8II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Lauren Goetting (ed.) 2009, ‘Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 8’ 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. 664-5.

Hilmir fór með herskap stóran
hildar borðs á Upplǫnd norðan;
merki skókusk ljós á Láku;
lá ferð vegin skǫrpum sverðum.
Þunnum reið til Þrándheims sunnan
þingfrœkn jǫfurr Vǫlum stinga;
herskip brendi hilmir grundar
hyggjugegn, en líf gaf þegnum.

{Hilmir {borðs hildar}} fór norðan á Upplǫnd með stóran herskap; ljós merki skókusk á Láku; ferð lá vegin skǫrpum sverðum. Þingfrœkn jǫfurr reið {þunnum Vǫlum stinga} sunnan til Þrándheims; {hyggjugegn hilmir grundar} brendi herskip, en gaf þegnum líf.

{The ruler {of the board of battle}} [SHIELD > WARRIOR = Skúli] went from the north to Opplandene with a large retinue; bright standards shook at Låke; the host lay slain by sharp swords. The battle-daring prince rode {the slender Valir <horses> of rods} [SHIPS] from the south to Trøndelag; {the clever-minded ruler of the land} [= Hákon] burned warships but spared the lives of men.

Mss: E(173v), F(109rb), 42ˣ(156v-157r), 81a(105vb), 8(52v-53r), Flat(177va) (Hák)

Readings: [2] borðs: barðs 81a;    ‑lǫnd: om. 81a    [3] skókusk: skárusk all    [5] Þunnum: þannig Flat;    Þránd‑: so all others, Þrónd‑ E    [6] Vǫlum: ‘valum’ or ‘volum’ corrected from ‘velum’ F;    stinga: so all others, ‘stindga’ E    [8] hyggju: hjoggu 42ˣ, hygginn 8;    gaf: fekk Flat

Editions: Skj: Óláfr Þórðarson hvítaskáld, 2. Et hrynhent digt 8: AII, 95, BII, 107, Skald II, 57, NN §1346; E 1916, 593, F 1871, 507, Hák 1910-86, 536-7, Hák 1977-82, 116, Flat 1860-8, III, 140.

Context: The first helmingr refers to the battle of Låke (9 March 1240), fought between Skúli and his men and the Birkibeinar, led by Jarl Knútr Hákonarson. The Birkibeinar were routed in the battle and Knútr fled to Tønsberg. The second helmingr describes Hákon’s journey by ship to Trøndelag (February 1240) to confront Skúli there and check his growing power. Once Hákon arrived, he found that Skúli had fled south with 500 men, leaving behind many of his adherents, to whom Hákon granted clemency.

Notes: [All]: For the battle of Låke, see also Sturl Hákkv 10. — [2] Upplǫnd ‘Opplandene’: Includes the present-day districts of Hadeland, Romerike, Gudbrandsdalen and Østerdalen in south-eastern Norway. — [3] skókusk ‘shook’: Following Kock (NN §1346), skárusk ‘were cut’ (so all mss) has been emended to skókusk ‘shook’ to supply the missing internal rhyme in l. 3 (skókusk : Láku). Merki skókusk ‘standards shook’ is preferable to merki skárusk ‘standards were cut’, since the motif of standards shaking or waving is attested in battle contexts elsewhere in skaldic poetry (cf. merki hristisk ‘the banner waved’, Arn Þorfdr 18/3, 4; gullmerkð vé skolla ‘gold-embroidered banners flutter’, Þfagr Sveinn 5/5, 8). — [3] á Láku ‘at Låke’: Farmstead in Nannestad, located in the district of Romerike, south-eastern Norway. — [5] til Þrándheims ‘to Trøndelag’: So F, 42ˣ, 81a, 8, Flat. Þróndheims (so E) is an ONorw. form (see CVC: Þróndheimr). Þrándheimr refers to the geographic region of Trøndelag, located in central Norway, rather than to the city of Trondheim proper, which is called Niðaróss in the prose text and elsewhere (for the history of the names of Trondheim, see Gade 1998 and the literature cited there). — [6] Vǫlum ‘Valir <horses>’: For Valr in ship-kennings, see Note to Arn Hryn 19/4. — [6] stinga ‘of rods’: Lit. ‘of that which stabs, sticks’. The word stingar (m. nom. pl.) is attested twice (see also SnSt Ht 73/7III) and possibly refers to a set of parallel rods on a ship’s prow that were designed to keep warriors from boarding (see Falk 1912, 37, and LP: stingr = brandr).

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