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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, 1159

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

50 — SnSt Ht 50III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 50’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1159.

Yggs drósar rýfr eisa
ǫld móðsefa tjǫld;
glóð støkkr í hof Hlakkar
hugtúns firum brún.
Geðveggjar svífr glugga
glæs dynbrími hræs;
hvattr es hyrr at slétta
hjaldrs gnapturna aldrs.

{Eisa {drósar Yggs}} rýfr {tjǫld móðsefa} ǫld; {brún glóð Hlakkar} støkkr í {hof {hugtúns}} firum. Svífr {dynbrími hræs} {glugga {glæs geðveggjar}}; {hyrr hjaldrs} es hvattr at slétta {gnapturna aldrs}.

{The fire {of Yggr’s <= Óðinn’s> woman}} [VALKYRIE > SWORD] rips {the tents of the mind} [CHESTS] of people; {the burnished ember of Hlǫkk <valkyrie>} [SWORD] leaps into {the temples {of the mind-meadow}} [BREAST > HEADS] of men. {The crashing flame of carrion} [SWORD] flashes through {the windows {of the clear mind-wall}} [BREAST > WOUNDS]; {the fire of battle} [SWORD] is whetted to level {jutting towers of life} [HEADS].

Mss: R(49v), Tˣ(52r), W(146), U(54r-v) (SnE)

Readings: [2] ǫld: ‘ell’ U;    móðsefa: so all others, ‘með seva’ R    [3] hof: haf W, U    [5] ‑veggjar svífr: veggr synir U    [6] glæs (‘gles’): so Tˣ, U, ‘gless’ R, ‘glæss’ W;    dyn‑: dun‑ W;    hræs (‘hres’): so U, hress R, Tˣ, ‘hræss’ W    [7] hvattr: so all others, hvatt R    [8] aldrs: aldr W

Editions: Skj: Snorri Sturluson, 2. Háttatal 50: AII, 65-6, BII, 75, Skald II, 42, NN §§2823, 2824; SnE 1848-87, I, 662-3, II, 393, III, 123, SnE 1879-81, I, 8, 80, II, 20, SnE 1931, 237, SnE 2007, 23; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 30.

Context: The variant is called inn meiri stúfr ‘the greater apocopated’, and in all the even lines the final syllable (in regular dróttkvætt) has been left off, making the lines pentasyllabic and catalectic (see st. 49 above).

Notes: [All]: It is noteworthy that all the base-words in the four kennings for ‘sword’ are terms for ‘fire’ (eisa ‘fire’, l. 1; glóð ‘ember’, l. 3; dynbrimi ‘crashing flame’, l. 6; hyrr ‘fire’, l. 7) and that the base-words in all the kennings for body parts are terms for man-made structures (tjǫld ‘tents’, l. 2; hof ‘temples’, l. 3; ‑veggjar ‘-wall’, l. 5; ‑turna ‘towers’, l. 8). If all these kennings are taken without their determinants, the stanza consists of four sentences depicting fire attacking buildings (or tents), i.e. a town being sacked (cf. the double layering of imagery in the previous stanza). — [All]: For this variant, see also Þórsnep LvIV and RvHbreiðm Hl 61-2 (alstýft ‘completely apocopated’). — [All]: The heading in is inn meiri stúfr. 42 ‘the greater apocopated. 42’. — [2] móðsefa ‘of the mind’: In R, ‘með seva’ ‘with mind’ has been corrected to ‘moð seva’ (R*). The cpd móðsefi is otherwise unattested in Old Norse, but cf. OE mōdsefa ‘mind, spirit, heart, character’ (Beowulf 2008, 414). — [3, 4] hof hugtúns ‘the temples of the mind-meadow [BREAST > HEADS]’: This kenning has been taken by earlier eds to mean ‘chests’ (see LP: hugtún). However, hugtún in itself means ‘breast’ (see LP: hugtún and GSúrs Lv 9/4V (Gísl 12)), and its hof ‘temple’ must be the building that is erected on top of it, i.e. ‘head’ or ‘heads’ (hof is n. acc. sg./pl.). The W, U variant haf would yield a kenning haf hugtúns ‘ocean of the breast’, which is not immediately clear, but might possibly be a kenning for ‘blood’. — [5] svífr ‘flashes’: The verb is used impersonally with dynbrími hræs ‘crashing flame of carrion [SWORD]’ (l. 6) as the dat. object. — [6] glæs (m. or n. gen. sg.) ‘clear’: In the present edn this is an adj. qualifying geðveggjar ‘of the mind-wall’ (l. 5) (so also Skj B and SnE 2007). If taken as the noun glæs (m. gen. sg. of glær ‘ocean’) it could be construed as a part of a kenning dynbrími glæs hræs ‘the crashing flame of the ocean of carrion [BLOOD > SWORD]’ (l. 6) (so Konráð Gíslason 1895-7 and NN §2823). — [6] hræs; glæs ‘of carrion; of the clear’: In R ‘hress’ and ‘gless’ have been altered to ‘hrę́ss’ and ‘glę́ss’ (R*). — [7] es ‘is’: Altered to kann ‘can’ in R (R*). — [8] gnapturna aldrs ‘jutting towers of life [HEADS]’: For the word turn ‘tower’, see RvHbreiðm Hl 40/3.

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