Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Steinn Herdísarson (Steinn)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

1. Nizarvísur (Nizv) - 7

Skj info: Steinn Herdísarson, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 407-13, BI, 376-83).

Skj poems:
1. Nizarvísur
2. Ulfsflokkr
3. Óláfsdrápa

Steinn was the great-grandson of the Icel. poet Einarr skálaglamm ‘Tinkle-scales’ Helgason (EskálI) and a kinsman of Stúfr inn blindi ‘the Blind’ Þórðarson (Stúfr; see the genealogy in SnE 1848-87, III, 607 and Genealogy IV in ÍF 5). At the battle of the river Nissan in 1062 he was on board the ship of his kinsman, Úlfr stallari ‘the Marshal’ Óspaksson (Úlfr). Steinn was a court poet of Haraldr harðráði ‘Hardrule’ Sigurðarson and his son Óláfr kyrri ‘the Quiet’ Haraldsson (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 275). Two poems, NizarvísurVísur about the Nissan’ (Steinn Nizv), and ÓláfsdrápaDrápa about Óláfr’ (Steinn Óldr) survive of his poetic oeuvre, and another st., ÚlfsflokkrFlokkr about Úlfr’ (Steinn Úlffl), is usually assigned to a poem about Úlfr Óspaksson.

Nizarvísur (‘Vísur about the Nissan’) — Steinn NizvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Steinn Herdísarson, Nizarvísur’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 359-66.

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Skj: Steinn Herdísarson: 1. Nizarvísur, 1062 (AI, 407-9, BI, 376-8)

SkP info: II, 362-3

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Steinn Nizv 4II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Steinn Herdísarson, Nizarvísur 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 362-3.

Nýtr bað skjǫldungr skjóta
— skammt vas liðs á miðli —
hlífar styggr ok hǫggva
hvárrtveggi lið seggja.
Bæði fló, þás blóði
brandr hrauð af sér rauðu,
— þat brá feigra flotna
fjǫrvi — grjót ok ǫrvar.

Hvárrtveggi nýtr skjǫldungr, styggr hlífar, bað lið seggja skjóta ok hǫggva; vas skammt á miðli liðs. Bæði grjót ok ǫrvar fló, þás brandr hrauð af sér rauðu blóði; þat brá fjǫrvi feigra flotna.

Each bountiful prince, shunning protection, told the troop of warriors to shoot and strike; there was a short distance between the troops. Both rocks and arrows flew when the blade shed red blood; that put an end to the life of doomed sailors.

Mss: (561r), 39(27ra), F(48vb), E(21r), J2ˣ(283r) (Hkr); H(56r), Hr(41ra) (H-Hr)

Readings: [1] skjǫldungr: skjǫldu E    [2] vas (‘var’): varð E;    miðli: milli H    [5] Bæði fló þás: benja flóð í H, Hr;    þás (‘þa er’): þá E    [6] sér: om. Hr    [7] þat: þar E, fljótt H, Hr;    feigra: frægra H;    flotna: gotna H, Hr

Editions: Skj: Steinn Herdísarson, 1. Nizarvísur 4: AI, 408, BI, 377, Skald I, 188; ÍF 28, 149 (HSig ch. 63), F 1871, 228, E 1916, 75; Fms 6, 316 (HSig ch. 78).

Context: The battle began, and both rulers urged their men on.

Notes: [5-8]: The H-Hr variant of this helmingr, which is clearly secondary, can be construed as follows:

Benja flóð í blóði
brandr hrauð af sér rauðu;
fljótt brá feigra/frægra gotna
fjǫrvi grjót ok ǫrvar.

Prose order: Brandr hrauð af sér flóð benja í rauðu blóði; grjót ok ǫrvar brá fljótt fjǫrvi feigra/frægra gotna. Translation: The blade shed a flood of wounds [BLOOD] in the red blood; rocks and arrows quickly put an end to the life of doomed/famous men. — [5] fló (3rd pers. sg. pret. indic.) ‘flew’: The verb is in the sg. but has a pl. subject (see NS §70).

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