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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 6 July 2022)

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

SkP info: III, 1168

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

59 — SnSt Ht 59III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 59’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1168.

Hjálmlestir skekr Hristar
hreggǫld Sigars veggi;
gramr lætr í byr brjóta
brands hnigþili randa stranda.
Stálhrafna lætr stefnir
styrvind of sik þyrja;
þiggr at Gǫndlar glyggvi
gagn oddviti bragna sagna.

{Hjálmlestir} skekr {veggi Sigars} {hreggǫld Hristar}; gramr lætr {hnigþili brands} brjóta í {byr {stranda randa}}. {Stefnir {stálhrafna}} lætr {styrvind} þyrja of sik; oddviti sagna bragna þiggr gagn at {glyggvi Gǫndlar}.

{The helmet-damager} [WARRIOR] shakes {walls of Sigarr <legendary king>} [SHIELDS] {during the storm-age of Hrist <valkyrie>} [BATTLE]; the ruler makes {bending boards of the sword} [SHIELDS] break in {the fair breeze {of the shores of shields}} [SHIELD-RIMS > BATTLE]. {The impeller {of prow-ravens}} [SHIPS > SEAFARER] makes {tumult-wind} [BATTLE] rage around him; the leader of troops of men receives victory at {the gale of Gǫndul <valkyrie>} [BATTLE].

Mss: R(50v), Tˣ(52v), W(147) (SnE)

Readings: [1] skekr: so Tˣ, W, skerr R;    Hristar: ‘hristar \mistar/’ Tˣ    [3] byr: bǫð W    [4] hnig‑: hring Tˣ;    stranda: standa W    [7] at: af W;    Gǫndlar: so Tˣ, W, ‘glavndlar’ R;    glyggvi: ‘glyggi’ W    [8] gagn: so Tˣ, W, gang R

Editions: Skj: Snorri Sturluson, 2. Háttatal 59: AII, 68, BII, 77, Skald II, 43; SnE 1848-87, I, 672-5, III, 126, SnE 1879-81, I, 10, 81, II, 23, SnE 1931, 240, SnE 2007, 26; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 35-6.

Context: This dróttkvætt variant is called kimblaband ‘bundle-bond’, and it is characterised by an additional cadence (a word with a long-stemmed syllable plus a short inflectional ending) with aðalhending added after metrical position 6 in ll. 4 and 8.

Notes: [All]: The heading in is 51. For the name of the metre, see also RvHbreiðm Hl 27-8. Other than in Hl and Ht, the variant is not attested in skaldic poetry, and that is also the case with it meira kimblaband ‘the greater bundle-bond’ (st. 60) and in mestu kimblabǫnd ‘the greatest bundle-bonds’ (st. 61). — [1] skekr ‘shakes’: The R variant skerr ‘cuts’ gives an equally good reading, but appears to be secondary. — [1-2] hreggǫld Hristar ‘during the storm-age of Hrist <valkyrie> [BATTLE]’: This is a dat. of time. — [3-4]: Following SnE 1848-87, Möbius (SnE 1879-81, I, 81) and Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) render the kennings contained in these lines as hnigþili stranda randa ‘the bending boards of the shores of shields [SHIELD-RIMS > SHIELDS]’ and í byr brands ‘in the fair breeze of the sword [BATTLE]’, but Konráð remarks that the first kenning is an odd shield-kenning which may refer to a shield-wall rather than to shields. Skj B, Skald and SnE 2007 construe the following kennings: hnigþili randa ‘bending boards of shield-rims [SHIELDS]’ and í byr stranda brands ‘in the fair breeze of the shores of the sword [SHIELDS > BATTLE]’. According to Faulkes (SnE 2007, 123), hnigþili randa ‘bending boards of shield-rims’ could either be a kenning for ‘shields’ or refer to the boards of which shields are made. However, hnigþili ‘bending boards’ in itself can serve as the base-word in a shield-kenning, and the present reading avoids both an ambiguous kenning and a syntactic break between the last two words of l. 4.

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