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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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 3 July 2022)

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

SkP info: III, 1161

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

52 — SnSt Ht 52III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 52’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1161.

Sær skjǫldungs niðr skúrum;
skǫpt darraðar lyptask;
hrindr gunnfana grundar
glygg of frœknum tiggja.
Geisa vé fyr vísa;
veðr stǫng at hlym Gungnis;
styrk eru mót und merkjum
málms of ítran hilmi.

{Niðr skjǫldungs} sær skúrum; skǫpt darraðar lyptask; glygg hrindr gunnfana of {frœknum tiggja grundar}. Vé geisa fyr vísa; stǫng veðr at {hlym Gungnis}; {mót málms} eru styrk und merkjum of ítran hilmi.

{The sovereign’s kinsman} [= Skúli] sows showers [of missiles]; the shafts of the standard are lifted; the strong wind presses against the battle-banner above {the bold lord of the land} [RULER]. Pennants rush before the prince; the standard-pole advances towards {the crash of Gungnir <spear>} [BATTLE]; {meetings of metal} [BATTLES] are mighty beneath the banners around the glorious leader.

Mss: (52r), R(49v-50r), W(146), U(54v) (SnE)

Readings: [3] ‑fana: fara U    [4] glygg: ‘gl[…]’ R, glugg U;    of: af R, W, um U;    frœknum: ‘fræ[…]’ R    [5] Geisa fyr vísa: ‘geisa[…]’ R    [6] veðr stǫng: ‘[…]’ R;    hlym: hlyn U    [7] und: fyr W    [8] málms of ítran: hjálms vin ítrum U

Editions: Skj: Snorri Sturluson, 2. Háttatal 52: AII, 66, BII, 75, Skald II, 42, NN §§1205C, 1316, 2181; SnE 1848-87, I, 664-5, II, 394, III, 124, SnE 1879-81, I, 9, 80, II, 21, SnE 1931, 237, SnE 2007, 24; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 31.

Context: The dróttkvætt variant is skothendr háttr ‘the half-rhymed form’, and it is characterised by skothending rather than aðalhending in the even lines.

Notes: [All]: Ms. R is partly damaged, and is the main ms. The heading in is Nú er skothendr háttr. 44 ‘Now comes the half-rhymed form. 44’. The variant is quite common in informal poetry. — [1] niðr ‘kinsman’: Niðr usually means ‘descendant’. Skúli, the half-brother of King Ingi Bárðarson, was not of royal lineage, except that his great-great-great-grandmother was Ingiríðr, the sister of Óláfr Haraldsson (S. Óláfr) and Haraldr harðráði ‘Hard-rule’ Sigurðarson. Niðr is, however, also attested in the meaning ‘kinsman, relative’ (Fritzner: niðr 1; LP: niðr 1). An alternative would be to take niðr as an adv. ‘down’ in an impersonal verb-adv. collocation with sær ‘sows’: sær niðr skúrum skjǫldungs ‘the lord’s showers are sown down’ (see SnE 1848-87, III and SnE 2007, 136). — [2] darraðar ‘of the standard’: Dǫrruðr can mean either ‘spear’ or ‘standard’ (see Holtsmark 1939, Poole 1991, 125-31 and the literature cited there). In the present context the meaning ‘standard’ is preferable because the imagery of standards, banners and pennants occurs in both helmingar. Skj B takes darraðar with skúrum ‘showers’ (l. 1): Darraðar skúrum skjǫldungs sær niðr translated as Fyrstens spydbyger falder ned ‘The lord’s spear-showers fall down’. Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) also connects skúrum with darraðar, but he takes niðr as a noun rather than as an adv.: skjǫldungs niðr sær darraðar skúrum ‘the lord’s relative sows showers of spears’. Both of these interpretations are less preferable from the point of view of word order because they result in an awkward tripartite line (l. 2). — [4] tiggja ‘lord’: The later form tiggja (rather than tyggja) is warranted by the internal rhyme, since tyggja (so Skj B) would form aðalhending with glygg ‘the strong wind’. Skúli is referred to as frækn tiggi grundar ‘the bold lord of the land’ (ll. 3, 4) as regent of Norway during Hákon’s minority. — [6] Gungnis ‘of Gungnir <spear>’: This was a spear belonging to Óðinn in Old Norse myth (see Note to Þul Spjóts l. 8).

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