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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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 5 July 2022)

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, 666

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

9 — Ólhv Hryn 9II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Lauren Goetting (ed.) 2009, ‘Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 9’ 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, p. 666.

Norðan rendi næst, þás spurðisk,
nafnkunnr jǫfurr skíðum stafna,
— bárur léku brǫndum hæri —
brodda hríð, fyr Nóregs síðu.
Þrútin lágu veðr á vatni;
vinda ript né gramr bað svipta;
snarr yngvi kvað sigrbyr fenginn
sinni ferð at hjaldri stinnum.

Nafnkunnr jǫfurr rendi næst {skíðum stafna} norðan fyr síðu Nóregs, þás spurðisk {hríð brodda}; bárur léku hæri brǫndum. Þrútin veðr lágu á vatni; né bað gramr svipta {ript vinda}; snarr yngvi kvað sigrbyr fenginn ferð sinni at stinnum hjaldri.

The famous prince next impelled {skis of stems} [SHIPS] from the north along the coast of Norway when {a storm of arrow-points} [BATTLE] was reported; the waves rose higher than the prows. Heavy winds pressed upon the water; the king did not command that {the cloth of winds} [SAIL] be taken down; the brave monarch said that a favouring wind of victory had been given to his company for the fierce battle.

Mss: E(175v), 55 A(1rb), F(110ra-b), 42ˣ(160v), 81a(107vb), 8(55r), Flat(178rb) (Hák)

Readings: [1] næst: ‘[...]t’ 55 A    [2] jǫfurr skíðum: jǫfra skipum 55 A, jǫfurr 8, jǫfurr skeiðar Flat;    stafna: ‘[...]’ 55 A, stafni Flat    [3] bárur: ‘[...]’ 55 A;    hæri: hærra 81a    [4] brodda: borða Flat;    Nóregs síðu: ‘norreg[...]’ 55 A    [5] Þrútin lágu: ‘[...]agu’ 55 A, lágu þrútin 8    [6] ript: ‘hript’ 42ˣ, dript 81a, skript Flat;    bað svipta: ‘b[...]’ 55 A    [7] snarr: ‘[...]arr’ 55 A, snarri 42ˣ;    fenginn: slunginn Flat    [8] sinni ferð at hjaldri: ‘si[...] alldri’ 55 A;    hjaldri: ‘halldri’ 81a

Editions: Skj: Óláfr Þórðarson hvítaskáld, 2. Et hrynhent digt 9: AII, 95-6, BII, 107, Skald II, 57, NN §2989C; E 1916, 599, F 1871, 511, Hák 1910-86, 549, Hák 1977-82, 122, Flat 1860-8, III, 147.

Context: Shortly after Easter 1240, Hákon and his retinue sailed with strong winds toward Oslo, where he planned to attack Skúli and his men.

Notes: [All]: For Hákon’s journey by ship to Oslo, see also Sturl Hákkv 11-13. — [1] næst ‘next’: This adv. could also be construed with the second cl. (so Skald and Skj B) þás næst spurðisk hríð brodda ‘when a storm of arrow-points was next reported’. — [3] léku ‘rose’: Lit. ‘played’. The verb leika (léku 3rd pers. pl. pret. indic.) in the present context denotes the upward or swinging motion of the waves (see LP: leika 1; CVC: leika II). — [5] þrútin veðr lágu á vatni ‘heavy winds pressed upon the water’: Lit. ‘swollen winds’. See also Note to Ólhv Lv 1/4.

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