11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;
Lausavísur (Lv) - 11
III. Fragment (Frag) - 1
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).
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. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1375> (accessed 30 November 2021)
cross-references: 4 = Hharð Lv 9II
Skj: Sneglu- [Grautar-] Halli: 2. Lausavísur, o. 1054 (AI, 388-90, BI, 358-60)
SkP info: II, 325
2 — SnH Lv 2II
Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sneglu-Halli, Lausavísur 2’ 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. 325.
context: King Haraldr has finished eating, and he knocks on the table
with his knife and tells the servants to clear away the dishes. Halli takes a
piece of food from his plate and recites this ditty.
notes: It is not specified that to continue eating after the king had finished his meal was in violation of courtly custom, but Konungs skuggsjá (Holm-Olsen 1983, 58), indicates that this could have been the case: En þat spillir eigi siðum þinum at þú nœytir matar þins / væl. oc skiott æptir þinni nauðsyn oc sva drykkia yfir borðum ‘And that does not spoil your conduct if you enjoy your food well and quickly according to your needs, and so also your drink at the table’. — The metre is fornyrðislag.
texts: ‹Snegl 4›,
editions: Skj Sneglu- [Grautar-] Halli: 2. Lausavísur 2 (AI, 388; BI, 358); Skald I, 179, NN §3232; ÍF 9, 271 (Snegl ch. 4), Flat 1860-8, III, 418 (Snegl).