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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Snorri Sturluson (SnSt)

13th century; volume 3; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

III. Háttatal (Ht) - 102

Skj info: Snorri Sturluson, Islandsk höfding og skjald, 1178-1241. (AII, 52-79, BII, 60-90).

Skj poems:
1. En drape om Skule jarl
2. Háttatal
3. Af et religiøst digt (?)
4. Lausavísur
4. Lausavísur

prose works

Háttatal — SnSt HtIII

Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1094.

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Skj: Snorri Sturluson: 2. Háttatal, 1222-23 (AII, 52-77, BII, 61-88)

SkP info: III, 1104

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — SnSt Ht 1III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1104.

Lætr, sás Hákun heitir,
— hann rekkir lið — bannat
— jǫrð kann frelsa — fyrðum
friðrofs konungr ofsa.
Sjálfr ræðr alt ok Elfar
ungr stillir sá milli
— gramr á gipt at fremri —
Gandvíkr jǫfurr landi.

Konungr, sás heitir Hákun, lætr bannat fyrðum ofsa friðrofs; hann rekkir lið; kann frelsa jǫrð. Jǫfurr, sá ungr stillir, ræðr sjálfr landi alt milli Gandvíkr ok Elfar; gramr á at fremri gipt.

The king, who is called Hákon, prevents people [from engaging in] the violence of truce-breaking; he emboldens the host; he can protect the country. The prince, that young leader, himself rules the land all the way between the White Sea and the Götaälv; the lord has all the more outstanding good luck.

Mss: R(44v), Tˣ(46v), U(47r) (l. 1), U(47v) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Hákun: Hákon all others;    heitir: ‘h.’ U(47r)    [2] rekkir: rækir U    [3] frelsa: ‘fr[…]sa’ U    [6] ungr: einn U;    stillir: ‘stille’ U    [7] á: so Tˣ, of R, U

Editions: Skj: Snorri Sturluson, 2. Háttatal 1: AII, 52, BII, 61, Skald II, 35, NN §1294; SnE 1848-87, I, 594-9, II, 369, 372-3, III, 111, SnE 1879-81, I, 1, 74, II, 1, SnE 1931, 213-15, SnE 2007, 3-4; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 1-3.

Context: The stanza illustrates regular dróttkvætt metre in terms of the number of half-stanzas, couplets and lines that a stanza should contain, as well as the number of syllables per line, the number and placement of alliterating staves and the nature of internal rhymes. The whole stanza is given once, but ll. 1-2 and 3-4 are incorporated into the prose to illustrate alliteration (ll. 1-2) and rhyme (ll. 3-4) respectively (see Notes below).

Notes: [All]: For a more detailed discussion of dróttkvætt, see Section 4 of the General Introduction in SkP I as well as Kuhn (1983) and Gade (1995a). — [All]: The headings are it fyrsta kvæði ‘the first poem’ () and fyrst er dróttkvæðr háttr’ ‘first is the dróttkvætt verse-form’ (U(47r)). — [1-2]: These lines are repeated in the prose of R and with no variant readings. In U(47v), the lines read: lætr sa er .h. h. h. r. l. b. They are cited to show the nature and placement of alliteration – two alliterating staves (stuðlar ‘props, supports’) in an odd line (here: Hákun, heitir) alliterating with the first syllable (hǫfuðstafr ‘main stave’) in the following even line (here: hann). — [1] Hákun ‘Hákon’: The name is rendered here and elsewhere in ms. R (e.g. sts 12/1, 14/1) in the more archaic form ‘Hákun’ (< Proto-Nordic *Hākvinn; see AEW: Hákon), and that form has been retained in the present edn as the lectio difficilior. — [3-4]: These lines are also repeated in the prose in all mss (R(44v, 45r), (47r), U(48r)) with no variants. They illustrate the formation of internal rhymes (skothending ‘inserted rhyme, half-rhyme’, -ǫrð : -yrð- (l. 3) and aðalhending ‘noble rhyme, full rhyme’, -ofs : ofs- (l. 4)). — [4] konungr ‘the king’: Following Sveinbjörn Egilsson (SnE 1848-87, III), Möbius (SnE 1879-81, I, 74) and Konráð Gíslason (1895-7), Skj B takes this as the subject of the last clause of the helmingr: konungr kann frelsa jǫrð ‘the king can protect the country’ (ll. 3, 4). That results in an awkward tripartite line (l. 4) and in an otherwise unattested clause arrangement with the rel. clause preceding the main clause: sás heitir Hákun, lætr bannat … ‘[he] who is called Hákon prevents …’ (see NN §1294). — [5] Elfar ‘the Götaälv’: River in south-western Sweden, running out of Lake Vänern. During Hákon Hákonarson’s reign the Götaälv constituted the border between Norway and Sweden. — [6] ungr stillir ‘young leader’: Hákon, who was born in 1204, was indeed young at the time when Ht was composed (about eighteen years old). — [7] á ‘has’: So . The R, U variant of ‘over, above, throughout’ (or the expletive particle) makes no sense in the context. — [7] at fremri ‘all the more outstanding’: At functions as an adverbial intensifier here. — [8] Gandvíkr ‘the White Sea’: A large bay in the Arctic Ocean in north-western Russia, south of the Barents Sea. See also EValg Lv 1/6 and Note to ll. 5-6.

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