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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 24 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, 330

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

9 — SnH Lv 9II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sneglu-Halli, Lausavísur 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. 330.

Þjón gerik þann at sveini;
Þjóðolf lætk mat sjóða.

Gerik þann þjón at sveini; lætk Þjóðolf sjóða mat.

I make that slave [my] boy; I let Þjóðólfr cook food.

Mss: Flat(208rb) (Flat); 563aˣ(20)

Readings: [2] mat: om. 563aˣ

Editions: Skj: Sneglu- [Grautar-] Halli, 2. Lausavísur 9: AI, 390, BI, 360, Skald I, 180, NN §§2526, 3396R; ÍF 9, 293 (Snegl ch. 10), Flat 1860-8, III, 427 (Snegl).

Context: On a voyage to Trondheim, Halli becomes seasick and his companion, the poet Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, is left to do the chores. Halli replies with this couplet to a taunting lv. by Þjóðólfr (ÞjóðA Lv 8).

Notes: [1] gerik þann þjón at sveini ‘I make that slave [my] boy’: The most common meaning of sveinn is ‘boy’ or ‘young male person’ (see Fritzner: sveinn 1-2), and þjónn and sveinn could mean both ‘slave’ and ‘servant’ (see Fritzner sveinn 4-5; þjónn). Skj B translates this sentence loosely as Ham gör jeg til tjæner ‘I make him a servant’, whereas Kock (NN §§2526, 3396R) suggests that sveinn here stands for matsveinn ‘cook’ (‘this servant I make a cook’). See also Gulaþingslǫg §300 (NGL I, 98) and NGL V: matgerðarmaðr; matsveinn; sveinn; þjónn. Neither interpretation captures the full derogatory force of Halli’s couplet.

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