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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, 1167

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

58 — SnSt Ht 58III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 58’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1167.

Es til hjálma hyrjar
herjum styrjar væni,
þar svát jarl til ógnar
egnir tognu sverði.
Sjá kná garð fyr grundu
grindar Þundar jaðra,
es skatna vinr skjaldar
skyldisk galdr at fremja.

Væni es herjum til {styrjar {hyrjar hjálma}}, þar svát jarl egnir tognu sverði til ógnar. Kná sjá {garð {jaðra {grindar Þundar}}} fyr grundu, es {vinr skatna} skyldisk at fremja {galdr skjaldar}.

There is an expectation for the troops of {a tumult {of the fire of helmets}} [SWORD > BATTLE] where the jarl baits the drawn sword for battle. One can see {the fence {of the edges {of Þundr’s <= Óðinn’s> gate}}} [SHIELD > SHIELD-RIMS > SHIELD-WALL] before the land, when {the friend of the people} [RULER] pledges himself to perform {the chant of the shield} [BATTLE].

Mss: R(50r), Tˣ(52v), W(147) (SnE)

Readings: [5] kná: so Tˣ, W, ‘ma’(?) R    [6] grindar: grundar W    [7] skjaldar: skjalda W

Editions: Skj: Snorri Sturluson, 2. Háttatal 58: AII, 67, BII, 77, Skald II, 43, NN §§1161C, 2992B; SnE 1848-87, I, 672-3, III, 125-6, SnE 1879-81, I, 9, 81, II, 22, SnE 1931, 240, SnE 2007, 26; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 35.

Context: The metre is called Braga háttr ‘Bragi’s verse-form’ after the earliest named skald whose poetry has been preserved (Bragi Boddason (Bragi)). It is characterised by a lack of internal rhymes in the odd lines, but the syllable in position 5 of each odd line (in the cadence) forms internal rhyme with the syllables in positions 1 (skothending) and 3 (aðalhending) in the following even line.

Notes: [All]: The heading in is 50. — [All]: Not all of the features that characterise this metre occur in the surviving poetry attributed to Bragi. His odd lines frequently lack internal rhyme, and there are occasional examples of the syllable in the cadence of odd lines rhyming with syllables in the following even lines, and also of rhyme in positions 1 and 3 of the even lines (see Kuhn 1981; 1983, 80-2). — [1] es ‘is’: In this line there is no internal rhyme on the syllables es (later er) ‘is’ : hyr- ‘fire’, which indicates that there was still a dissimilarity in the pronunciation of the two consonants ([z] and [r]). See, however, the rhyme er ‘is’: ver ‘sea’ in st. 82/5, 6. — [2] væni ‘an expectation’: This is a variant form of the more common ván ‘expectation’, derived from the weak verb væna ‘expect’ (see AEW: væni). — [3] þar svát ‘where’: For the meaning ‘where’ of þar svát, see NN §§1161C, 2992B. — [3, 4] ógnar; tognu ‘battle; the drawn’: The only apparent exception to the rhyme pattern is ógn : togn (lack of aðalhending), but see ANG §127.3, where ogn (< ógn) is given as an example of words which have undergone vowel shortening before a consonant cluster. — [4] egnir sverði ‘baits the sword’: An image from fishing (egna e-u ‘put a bait on sth. in the hope of catching sth.’). The sense is ‘aim to bring about battle with drawn sword’ (so SnE 2007, 106). LP: egna 2 gives the translation løfte sværdet til hug ‘lift the sword for a blow’ (so also Kock, NN §1161C: lyfter upp ‘lifts up’), but that meaning is not attested elsewhere (see Fritzner: egna til ‘attempt to catch’), nor is Skj B’s truer ‘threatens’. Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) has tilskynder ‘hastens’. — [5] kná ‘can’: This word is the result of an alteration in R (R*), and it is difficult to make out what the original reading was. Finnur Jónsson (SnE 1931, 240 n. 1) reads ‘ma’ (with this ed.), while Faulkes (SnE 2007, 45) reads ‘búa’ or ‘bna’. 

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