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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, 1158

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

49 — SnSt Ht 49III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 49’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1158.

Hjaldrremmir tekr Hildi
— hringr brestr at gjǫf — festa;
hnígr und Hǫgna meyjar
hers valdandi tjald.
Heðins mála býr hvílu
hjálmlestanda flestum;
morðaukinn þiggr mæki
mund Hjaðninga sprund.

{Hjaldrremmir} tekr festa Hildi; hringr brestr at gjǫf; valdandi hers hnígr und {tjald {meyjar Hǫgna}}. {Mála Heðins} býr {flestum hjálmlestanda} hvílu; {sprund Hjaðninga} þiggr mund, morðaukinn mæki.

{The battle-strengthener} [WARRIOR] begins to betroth himself to Hildr; the ring breaks as bride-payment; the ruler of the army bends down beneath {the tent {of Hǫgni’s <legendary hero’s> daughter}} [= Hildr (hildr ‘battle’) > SHIELD]. {Heðinn’s <legendary hero’s> beloved} [= Hildr (hildr ‘battle’)] prepares a bed {for most helmet-damagers} [WARRIORS]; {the woman of the Hjaðningar <Heðinn’s followers>} [= Hildr (hildr ‘battle’)] receives a bride-payment, a battle-renowned sword.

Mss: R(49v), Tˣ(51v), W(146), U(54r) (SnE)

Readings: [2] hringr: hring‑ Tˣ;    festa: flesta U    [5] Heðins: heiðins Tˣ;    mála: málu U    [6] ‑lestanda: ‑lestandi Tˣ, U

Editions: Skj: Snorri Sturluson, 2. Háttatal 49: AII, 65, BII, 74, Skald II, 42; SnE 1848-87, I, 662-3, II, 393, III, 123, SnE 1879-81, I, 8, 80, II, 20, SnE 1931, 236, SnE 2007, 23; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 29.

Context: The dróttkvætt variant is stýft ‘apocopated’. The last syllable in ll. 4 and 8 is left off, creating catalectic, pentasyllabic lines.

Notes: [All]: The heading in is 41. This particular variant is not attested elsewhere. — [All]: The imagery in this stanza is taken from the story of Hildr Hǫgnadóttir and Heðinn Hjarrandason as told in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 72-3; see also Bragi Rdr 8-11 and RvHbreiðm Hl 45-6). Hildr means ‘battle’, and Snorri plays on the double entendre throughout the stanza in a series of ofljóst ‘too transparent’ constructions. On Snorri’s use of valkyrie imagery in this and other stanzas of Ht, see Quinn 2007. — [1, 2] tekr festa Hildi ‘begins to betroth himself to Hildr’: Because hildr also means battle, the imagery is that of a warrior engaging in battle. — [2] hringr brestr at gjǫf ‘the ring breaks as bride-payment’: Hringr ‘ring’ can also mean ‘sword’ (the ring at the sword-hilt, pars pro toto for ‘sword’, see LP: 2. hringr and Þul Sverða 7/7), meaning that the sword shatters in battle. If hringr is taken in the meaning ‘vagina’, however, the clause could have a third level of meaning (for other sexual innuendos in connection with Hildr and ‘ring’, see Clunies Ross 1973b). — [2] at gjǫf ‘as bride-payment’: Gjǫf usually means ‘gift’ (Heggstad et al. 2008: gjǫf 1), but it is taken here in the meaning ‘bride-payment’ (ibid.: gjǫf 2), i.e. the gift that a bridegroom gives the bride (= mundr ‘bride-payment’ (l. 8)). In this case, then, the bride-payment that Hildr receives is a morðaukinn mæki ‘battle-renowned sword’ (l. 7). For the meaning of the prep. at ‘as’, see Note to st. 28/6. — [3-4]: The last clause in this helmingr plays on the imagery of warriors bending down beneath a woman’s tent, where the tent is a part of a kenning for ‘shield’. — [5-8]: The word-play (and sexual imagery) from the first helmingr continues in the second, where the woman, Hildr (‘battle’), prepares a bed for warriors, i.e. causes their death on the battlefield (ll. 5-6), and receives a sword as a bride-payment (a weapon left as a part of spoils of war) (ll. 7-8), or in less innocuous sense, she is being deflowered. — [6] hjálmlestanda ‘helmet-damagers [WARRIORS]’: Lit. ‘helmet-damager’ (sg.).

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