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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 27 November 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, 327-8

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — SnH Lv 6II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sneglu-Halli, Lausavísur 6’ 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. 327-8.

Hrangs, þars hôvan þǫngul
heldk umb, síz fjǫr seldak;
sýnts, at sitk at Ránar;
sumir ’ró í búð með humrum.
Ljóst es lýsu at gista;
lǫnd ák út fyr strǫndu;
því sitk bleikr í brúki;
blakir mér þari of hnakka;
blakir mér þari of hnakka.

Hrangs, þars heldk umb hôvan þǫngul, síz seldak fjǫr; sýnts, at sitk at Ránar; sumir ’ró í búð með humrum. Ljóst es at gista lýsu; ák lǫnd út fyr strǫndu; því sitk bleikr í brúki; þari blakir mér of hnakka; þari blakir mér of hnakka.

There is tumult where I’m grasping the tall seaweed stalk, since I lost my life; it’s clear that I’m living at Rán’s <sea-goddess>; some share their residence with lobsters. It is light when one visits the whiting; I own land off the shore; hence I sit pale in the pile of seaweed; kelp is flapping around my neck; kelp is flapping around my neck.

Mss: Mork(16v) (Mork); H(68r), 761bˣ(540v), Hr(49va) (H-Hr); Flat(208ra-b) (Flat); 563aˣ(19) (ll. 1-2, 5-8)

Readings: [1] Hrangs þars hôvan þǫngul: ‘Hrꜹng er Jafnan þars þrꜹng’ 563aˣ;    Hrangs (‘Hrang er’): Hrǫng er H, Hr, Flat;    þars: so Flat, þats Mork, H, Hr;    hôvan: hafnan Flat    [2] heldk umb síz fjǫr seldak: ‘helld eg mónnum sijst qvelld’ 563aˣ;    heldk (‘held ek’): so Hr, Flat, ‘hellt’ corrected from ‘sellt’ in lower margin by the first hand Mork, ‘[…]k’ H, heldik 761bˣ;    fjǫr: ‘ek for’ Flat    [3] sýnts (‘synt er’): ‘syn er’ H, ‘syner’ Hr, hvert er Flat    [4] ’ró: so H, ‘o’ Mork, eru Hr, Flat    [5] Ljóst es (‘liost er’): ‘[…]’ H, ljóst 563aˣ;    lýsu: ‘lijsa’ 563aˣ;    at: ‘[…]’ H    [6] lǫnd ák: lenda ek Flat;    fyr: við Flat, 563aˣ    [8] blakir mér þari of hnakka: blakkir mér þari of hnakka Hr, blakir mér þarmr of hnakka Flat, ‘blachtter mier Þarmur umm hvarma’ 563aˣ    [9] blakir mér þari of hnakka: so H, ‘b. m. þ. of h.’ Mork, blakkir þér þari of hnakki Hr, ‘blaker mier firi þinum h.’ Flat

Editions: Skj: Sneglu- [Grautar-] Halli, 2. Lausavísur 6: AI, 389, BI, 359, Skald I, 180, NN §2038; ÍF 9, 292 (Snegl ch. 9), Mork 1867, 101, Mork 1928-32, 246, Andersson and Gade 2000, 252, 479 (MH); Fms 6, 376 (HSig ch. 105); Flat 1860-8, III, 426 (Snegl).

Context: Halli attempts to get passage on a ship from England to Norway, but the ship is already filled with Ger. travellers. To scare them off the ship, Halli pretends to have had an ominous dream in which a man appeared before him and recited this st.

Notes: [1, 2] heldk umb hôvan þǫngul ‘I grasp the tall seaweed stalk’: Kock (NN §2038) maintains that the verb halda ‘hold, grasp’ (l. 2) here has the meaning ‘dwell’ and that þǫngul (l. 1) is used collectively for ‘seaweed’ (‘I dwell among the tall seaweed’). However, halda umb e-t ‘hold the hand around sth.’ is not attested in that meaning (see Fritzner: halda um). — [3] at Ránar ‘at Rán’s <sea-goddess>’: In Norse mythology, Rán, the wife of Ægir, was the goddess of the sea. She had a net with which she caught those men who went to sea, and drowned men were received by her (see SnE 1998, I, 36, 41) — [5] lýsu ‘whiting’: This is either a whiting (Merlangius merlangus) or a hake (Merluccius merluccius). — [8-9]: The repetition of l. 8 is characteristic of the metre galdralag ‘incantation metre’ (see SnSt Ht 101III; SnE 1999, 39), and it is also found frequently in prophetic poetry. Although the present st. is not in galdralag, the repetition serves to emphasise the supernatural aspects of the situation. See also Anon (HSig) 6-8 below.

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