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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, 1108

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — SnSt Ht 4III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1108.

Stinn sár þróask stórum;
sterk egg frǫmum seggjum
hvast skerr hlífar traustar;
hár gramr lifir framla.
Hrein sverð litar harða
hverr drengr; gǫfugr þengill
— ítr rǫnd furask undrum —
unir bjartr snǫru hjarta.

Stinn sár þróask stórum; sterk egg skerr hvast traustar hlífar frǫmum seggjum; hár gramr lifir framla. Hverr drengr litar harða hrein sverð; ítr rǫnd furask undrum; gǫfugr þengill unir bjartr snǫru hjarta.

Severe wounds increase greatly; the strong edge sharply cuts firm shields for outstanding men; the sublime lord lives splendidly. Each warrior powerfully colours polished swords; the precious shield-rim is wonderfully furrowed; the glorious ruler enjoys, cheerful, a bold heart.

Mss: R(45r), Tˣ(47r), U(47r) (l. 1), U(48v) (SnE)

Readings: [4] hár gramr lifir framla: óðs drengr gǫfugr þengill U    [7] rǫnd: mun U    [8] bjartr: so Tˣ, U, bjart R

Editions: Skj: Snorri Sturluson, 2. Háttatal 4: AII, 53, BII, 61-2, Skald II, 36, NN §2174; SnE 1848-87, I, 602-3, II, 369, 375, III, 112, SnE 1879-81, I, 1, 74, II, 3, SnE 1931, 216, SnE 2007, 6; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 4.

Context: The stanza illustrates sannkent, that is, the use of ‘affirmatory or intensive attributives or adverbs’ (see SnE 2007, 143: sannkenna).

Notes: [All]: The headings are given as follows: iiij. sannkenningar ‘four, true descriptions’ (), sannkent ‘true description’ (U(47r)). — [All]: As Faulkes points out (SnE 2007, 143: sannkenning), the word kenning is not used to refer to metaphor here, but rather ‘in the formal sense of the use of a description or compound containing two elements, whether metaphorical or not’. — [All]: The intensifying adjectives and adverbs are stinn ‘severe’, stórum ‘greatly’ (l. 1), sterk ‘strong’, frǫmum ‘outstanding’ (l. 2), hvast ‘sharply’, traustar ‘firm’ (l. 3), hár ‘sublime’, framla ‘splendidly’ (l. 4), hrein ‘polished’, harða ‘powerfully’ (l. 5), hverr ‘each’, gǫfugr ‘glorious’ (l. 6), ítr ‘precious’, undrum ‘wonderfully’ (l. 7), bjartr ‘cheerful’ and snǫru ‘bold’ (l. 8). — [5] harða ‘powerfully’: This could technically be taken as the intensifying adv. ‘very’, modifying hrein ‘polished’ (l. 5) (so Skj B), but the prose commentary connects the adv. with the verb (SnE 2007, 6): ok harðliga roðit ‘and reddened powerfully’. — [7] furask ‘is … furrowed’: Hap. leg. The quantity of the first vowel is ensured by the metre. Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) derives this weak verb (*forask) from the f. noun for ‘furrow’ (see AEW: for 1. for cognates). See also SnE 1848-87, III, 112. — [8] bjartr ‘cheerful’: Kock (Skald; NN §2174) opts for the R variant bjart here, which he takes as an adv. modifying unir ‘enjoys’ (l. 8), his reason being that each noun in this stanza is qualified by an adj. and each verb modified by an adv. However, bjart is not attested as an adv., and the prose commentary paraphrases the clause as follows (SnE 2007, 6): konungrinn unði glaðr frœknu hjarta ‘the king enjoyed, cheerful, a bold heart’ (see also SnE 2007, 48). 

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