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Sneglu-Halli (SnH)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Lausavísur (Lv) - 11

Sneglu-Halli (SnH) came from a poor family from Fljót near Svarfaðardalur in northern Iceland. The meaning of his nickname (Sneglu-) is unclear, but it could have referred to his slender stature (Flat 1860-8, III, 416; Finnur Jónsson 1907, 297) or to his irascibility (Andersson and Gade 2000, 442). In later literature he was given the nickname Grautar-Halli ‘Porridge-Halli’ because of his fondness for porridge (ÍF 9, cxii n. 1; ÞjóðA Lv 7). Around 1053 Halli arrived at King Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson’s court in Norway, and after a trip to Denmark and England he returned to Iceland, where he must have died prior to 1066. According to Flat, King Haraldr received the news of Halli’s death with the following comment (ÍF 9, 295): Á grauti myndi greyit sprungit hafa ‘The bitch must have burst with porridge’. Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 275) lists Halli as a court poet of Haraldr harðráði, and he is said to have composed a poem in his honour (ÍF 9, 275, 280). A half-st. in fornyrðislag metre (SnH FragIII) attributed to Halli in TGT (TGT 1884, 20, 80) has been assigned to that poem by some eds. See Introduction, SnH FragIII. Otherwise, only the lvv. below have been preserved of his poetic oeuvre, which is also said to have included Kolluvísur ‘the Cow’s Vísur’, a poem composed about cows in Iceland, and a panegyric to an Engl. earl (see SnE 1848-87, III, 599-604; LH 1894-1901, I, 635-7). In H, Hr and Mork, ÞjóðA Lv 8 is erroneously attributed to Halli (see Mork 1928-32, 238; Fms 6, 364).

Lausavísur — SnH LvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Sneglu-Halli, Lausavísur’ 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. 323-32. <> (accessed 23 October 2021)

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

cross-references:  4 = Hharð Lv 9II 

Skj: Sneglu- [Grautar-] Halli: 2. Lausavísur, o. 1054 (AI, 388-90, BI, 358-60)

SkP info: II, 324-5

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — SnH Lv 1II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sneglu-Halli, Lausavísur 1’ 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. 324-5.

Fœrðr sýndisk mér frændi
Frísa kyns í brynju;
gengr fyr hirð í hringum
hjalmfaldinn kurfaldi.
Flœrat eld í ári
úthlaupi vanr Túta;
sék á síðu leika
sverð rúghleifa skerði.

{Frændi kyns Frísa} sýndisk mér fœrðr í brynju; hjalmfaldinn kurfaldi gengr fyr hirð í hringum. Túta, vanr úthlaupi, flœrat eld í ári; sék sverð leika á síðu {skerði rúghleifa}.

{The kinsman of the Frisians’ clan} [= Túta] showed himself to me dressed in a coat of mail; the helmet-clad dwarf prances before the retinue in a ring-byrnie. Túta, accustomed to furtive raids, does not flee the kitchen-fire early; I see a sword dangling by the side {of the cleaver of rye-loaves} [MAN].

Mss: Mork(15v) (Mork); H(65v), Hr(47vb) (H-Hr); Flat(207ra) (Flat); 593b(30v), 563aˣ(11)

Readings: [1] sýndisk: ‘syneztt’ Flat, sýnisk 563aˣ    [2] kyns: ‘Eims’ 563aˣ    [3] fyr: so all others, með Mork;    hirð: kóng 563aˣ    [4] ‑faldinn: ‑fallinn 593b, ‑falldur 563aˣ;    kurfaldi: ‘kurualldi’ Flat, ‘kurvalldi’ 593b, ‘Burvalldj’ 563aˣ    [5] Flœrat: flýrat Hr, ‘hlyrar’ 593b;    eld í: ‘helldur i’ 593b, eldi 563aˣ    [6] úthlaupi vanr Túta: ‘uteigdur er Tute’ 563aˣ;    vanr: valr Hr    [8] sverð rúghleifa skerði: sverð ok hleifa skerði 563aˣ;    skerði: skerðir 593b

Editions: Skj: Sneglu- [Grautar-] Halli, 2. Lausavísur 1: AI, 388, BI, 358, Skald I, 179, NN §3222; ÍF 9, 270-1 (Snegl ch. 4), Mork 1867, 94, Mork 1928-32, 236-7, Andersson and Gade 2000, 245, 479 (MH); Fms 6, 363 (HSig ch. 101); Flat 1860-8, III, 418 (Snegl).

Context: Halli responds to King Haraldr’s challenge to compose a st. about Túta, a Frisian dwarf, who on this occasion parades before the retinue wearing Haraldr’s byrnie and weapons.

Notes: [3] fyr ‘before’: The Mork variant með ‘among’ is possible but not supported by the other ms. witnesses. — [3] í hringum ‘in a ring-byrnie’: This was a byrnie made of iron rings that were joined together. Fragments of such armour have been found in Dan. graves (see Falk 1914, 175-6). Haraldr’s byrnie (called Emma) was so long that it reached down to the middle of his calves (see ÍF 28, 188), and Túta the dwarf would certainly have provided quite a sight wearing it. See also Note to Þham Magndr 3/8. — [5] flœrat (3rd pers. sg. pres. ind.) ‘does not flee’: The weak verb flœja is a secondary formation to the strong flýja ‘flee’ (see ANG §486 Anm. 2). — [5] eld ‘the kitchen-fire’: Lit. ‘the fire’. That kitchen-fire is meant, is implied by the derogatory kenning for ‘man’ in l. 8 (see Note to that l. below). — [5] í ári ‘early’: Kock (NN §3222) translates í ári as med det första ‘in a hurry’. However, ár (n.) means ‘early, in the beginning’ (it could also mean ‘year’), and given such phrases as at morgins ári, um morguninn í ár ‘early in the morning’ (see Fritzner: ár), Kock’s interpretation is tenuous. According to Konungs skuggsjá (Holm-Olsen 1983, 57) not hurrying to meet the king in the morning constituted a breach of courtly decorum: Þvi skalltþu oc vænia þec at þu vitia arla um morna konongs hærbærgis aðr en hann se upp staðenn oc vær þu þo þvæginn oc vaskaðr oc buinn allri a(t)giervi oc bið hans ínannd hærbærgi þar til er hann vil hafa upp staðet ‘You must also accustom yourself to visiting the king’s lodging early in the morning before he has got out of bed, and then you must be clean and washed and readied with all your gear. And wait for him close to his lodging until he has got out of bed’. — [8] skerði rúghleifa ‘the cleaver of rye-loaves [MAN]’: This is a derogatory term for ‘man’ modelled on such kennings as skerðir hringa ‘cleaver of rings’ i.e. ‘generous man’.

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