Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 8’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1112.
|Klofinn spyr ek hjálm fyrir hilmis
hjarar egg; duga seggir;
því eru heldr, þar es skekr skjǫldu,
skafin sverð lituð ferðar.
|Bila muna gramr, þó at gumna |
gular rítr nái líta;
draga þorir hann yfir hreina
hvatan brand þrǫmu randa.
Ek spyr hjálm klofinn fyrir egg hjarar hilmis; seggir duga; því eru skafin sverð ferðar heldr lituð, þar es skekr skjǫldu. Gramr muna bila, þó at nái líta gular rítr gumna; hann þorir draga hvatan brand yfir hreina þrǫmu randa.
I hear that the helmet was split before the blade of the lord’s sword; men are capable; therefore the polished swords of the company are highly coloured where shields are shaken. The ruler will not fail, although he is able to see the yellow shields of men; he dares to draw the sharp sword across shining rims of shields.
Mss: R(45v), Tˣ(48r), W(139), U(47r) (l. 1), U(49r) (SnE)
Readings:  fyrir hilmis: om. U(47r)  hjarar egg: so W, U, hjara egg R, ‘hiara reg’ Tˣ  eru: er W; skekr: so all others, ‘sc[…]cr’ R  skafin: so all others, skafinn R  þó at gumna: þar er gumnar U  gular: ‘gvllar’ U  yfir: fyrir U; hreina: by correction R, hreinna Tˣ, W, hreinan U  þrǫmu: þrumu Tˣ, ‘þromu’ W, þrimu U
Editions: Skj: Snorri Sturluson, 2. Háttatal 8: AII, 54, BII, 62-3, Skald II, 36; SnE 1848-87, I, 608-11, II, 370, 377, III, 113, SnE 1879-81, I, 2, 75, II, 5, SnE 1931, 218, SnE 2007, 7-8; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 6-7.
Context: The stanza shows the maximum number of
syllables that can be contained in dróttkvætt
odd and even lines provided that the syllables are pronounced quickly and placed close
Notes: [All]: The headings are viij. ‘the eighth’ (Tˣ) and ǫnnur oddhending ‘the second front-rhymed’ (U(49r)). — [All]: The stanza contains examples of resolution, neutralisation and elision. The even lines have seven syllables, and the first two short syllables (the first lift) in each line are resolved. The odd lines have nine syllables and, like the even lines, have resolution on the first two short syllables (the first lift) in ll. 1, 5 and 7. Unlike the even lines, the odd lines also have neutralisation (fyrir ‘before’, l. 1, muna ‘will not’, l. 5, þorir ‘dares’, yfir ‘across’, l. 7) and elision in dips (spyr ek > spyrk ‘I hear’, l. 1, þar es > þars ‘where’, l. 3, þó at > þótt ‘although’, l. 5). The latter device is treated more extensively in the subsequent prose (bragarmál) (see SnE 2007, 50; on the principles of resolution, neutralisation and elision, see Sievers 1878, Kuhn 1977a, Kuhn 1983, 55-7, 68-9, Gade 1995a, 60-7 and the General Introduction in SkP I). —  hjarar (m. gen. sg.) ‘of the … sword’: So W, U. The R, Tˣ variant, ‘hiara’ cannot be construed as a form of hjǫrr ‘sword’ (see ANG §365 and Anm. 1). Hjara has been corrected in R to hjarar (R*). — : Line 3 is problematic. Although it contains nine syllables which can be reduced to seven syllables by elision of því eru to þvíru ‘therefore are’ and þar es to þars ‘where’, it cannot be reduced to six syllables. As Faulkes (SnE 2007, 50) points out, es (‘er’) ‘is’, the W variant of the verb vera ‘be’, would provide the correct number of syllables (því es > þvís by elision), but the subject is in the pl. (skafin sverð ‘polished swords’, l. 4). It could be that Snorri nodded in this instance, but it is also possible that he had in mind such decasyllabic lines as Hharð Lv 8/3II þꜹ ero eɴ sva at ec man manna, normalised as þau ’ro enn, svát mank, manna lit. ‘those are such, so that I remember, of men’. —  skekr ‘are shaken’: Lit. ‘shakes’. Construed
impersonally with skjǫldu ‘shields’
as the acc. object. In R the vowel was erased (‘sc[…]cr’)
but later restored (R* ‘scekr’). — [5-6]: The clause ‘although he is able to see the yellow shields of men’ probably refers to the fact that the shields of the opponents are so close that he can see their colour, i.e. battle is imminent. —  gular rítr ‘the yellow shields’: Most likely referring to the natural colour of wooden shields, but it could also mean that the shields were painted (see Falk 1914b, 128, 147). —  hreina (m. acc. pl.) ‘shining’: So R, by correction (R*?). It is not possible to see what the original form of the word would have been. Earlier eds (except SnE 2007) adopt the Tˣ, W variant hreinna (gen. pl.) as an adj. qualifying randa ‘of shields’ (l. 8). That interpretation is possible, but not necessary. —  þrǫmu ‘rims’: In Tˣ and U this word must have been perceived of as the base-word in a battle-kenning (þrumu randa ‘thunder of the shield-rim’ (Tˣ); þrimu randa ‘roar of the shield-rim’ (U)) and in R, ‘þrꜹmv’ has been altered to ‘þrymv’, i.e. þrimu (R*). A battle-kenning makes no sense in the context, however.