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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Steinn Herdísarson (Steinn)

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

3. Óláfsdrápa (Óldr) - 16

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.

Óláfsdrápa (‘Drápa about Óláfr’) — Steinn ÓldrII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Steinn Herdísarson, Óláfsdrápa’ 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. 367-81. <> (accessed 27 November 2021)

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Skj: Steinn Herdísarson: 3. Óláfsdrápa, o. 1070 (AI, 409-13, BI, 379-83); stanzas (if different): 1 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17

SkP info: II, 376-7

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

11 — Steinn Óldr 11II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Steinn Herdísarson, Óláfsdrápa 11’ 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. 376-7.

Enn at gǫrva gunni
gramr bjósk við styr ramman;
herskildi bað halda
hraustgeðr konungr austan.
Út fœrðu lið lítlu
lǫng borð fyr Stað norðan
— trôðu túnvǫll reyðar
tveir dǫglingar — meira.

Enn gramr bjósk við ramman styr at gǫrva gunni; hraustgeðr konungr bað halda herskildi austan. Lǫng borð fœrðu meira lið út lítlu fyr norðan Stað; tveir dǫglingar trôðu {túnvǫll reyðar}.

But the prince prepared for fierce fighting after the finished battle; the brave-minded king commanded that the war-shield be brought from the east. The long ships brought more troops out [to sea] a little north of Stadlandet; two noblemen set foot {on the farm-yard of the whale} [SEA].

Mss: Mork(20r) (Mork); H(78v), Hr(55va) (H-Hr)

Readings: [2] ramman: rǫmmu H, rǫmmum Hr    [8] dǫglingar: so H, Hr, ‘dꜹlingar’ Mork

Editions: Skj: Steinn Herdísarson, 3. Óláfsdrápa 11: AI, 411-12, BI, 381, Skald I, 189, NN §893; Mork 1867, 125, Mork 1928-32, 288, Andersson and Gade 2000, 279, 483 (Ólkyrr); Fms 6, 437 (Ólkyrr ch. 1).

Context: As sts 7-10 above. In Mork this is the seventh st. in the sequence. H-Hr creates a new prose environment from the poetic content.

Notes: [1] at gǫrva gunni ‘after the finished battle’: This is taken as a prepositional phrase with both the adj. gǫrva ‘finished’ and gunni battle’ in the f. acc. sg. (for at + acc. in the meaning ‘after’, see Fritzner: at 1). If at gørva (or gerva) is taken as an inf. with bjósk ‘prepared’ (l. 2) (bjósk at gørva gunni ‘prepared to wage war’; so Skj B; Skald), við styr ramman ‘for fierce fighting’ (l. 2) becomes superfluous. — [3] herskildi ‘the war-shield’: See Note to Steinn Niz 7/7 above. — [5-8]: In the second helmingr other eds (Skj B; Skald) emend trðu ‘set foot on’ (l. 7) to trðut ‘did not set foot on’ and meira (n. acc. sg.) ‘more’ (l. 8) to meiri (m. nom. pl.) ‘more, greater’ and read tveir dǫglingar meiri trðut túnvǫll reyðar ‘two greater noblemen never set foot on the farm-yard of the whale’. — [5] lítlu ‘a little’: This adv. could also modify lið ‘troops’ (l. 5): lítlu meira lið ‘a little more troops’. — [6] lítlu fyr norðan Stað ‘a little north of Stadlandet’: Peninsula between Nordfjord and Sunnmøre, Norway. — [6] lǫng borð ‘the long ships’: Lit. ‘the long plankings’. Borð ‘planking’ used as pars pro toto for ‘ship’. — [7] reyðar ‘of the whale’: Reyðr is a baleen whale (rorqual), any whale of the species Balaenoptera. In ModIcel. reyðarhvalur refers specifically to the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus). See also HSn Lv 2/3 and Anon Nkt 2/2. Reyðr is also a fish, the Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus). See Note to Sturl Hrafn 7/8 and Sturl Hákfl 2/1. — [8] tveir dǫglingar ‘two noblemen’: According to H-Hr, these were Óláfr and his brother, Magnús. In Mork the conflict with Denmark takes place after the death of Magnús (1069), and the two noblemen are not identified (Óláfr and Sveinn Úlfsson?). If sts 9-11 are misplaced in their present contexts, however (see Note to st. 9/4 above), the two noblemen who set out from the east would be Óláfr and his father, Haraldr, embarking on their expedition west to England via Orkney in 1066. The likelihood of that being the case is strengthened by the use of the adv. austan ‘from the east’ (l. 4), because an army sailing westwards from the western coast of Norway could hardly end up in Denmark. According to Hkr (ÍF 28, 175-8), Haraldr and Óláfr sailed from Trondheim (north of Stadlandet) to the islands of Solund at the estuary of Sognefjorden and then west to Shetland and Orkney.

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