Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl)

13th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

1. Hrynhenda (Hryn) - 21

Skj info: Sturla Þórðarson, Islandsk skjald og historiker, 1214-84 (AII, 101-29, BII, 112-36).

Skj poems:
1. Þverárvísur
2. Þorgilsdrápa
3. Hrynhenda
4. Hákonarkviða
5. Hrafnsmál
6. Hákonarflokkr
7. En drape om Magnús lagaböter
8. Lausavísur

The life of Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl) is chronicled in Sturlunga saga (Stu). He was born on 29 July 1214 as the second son of Þórðr Sturluson and his concubine Þóra, and he was the younger brother of Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson (Ólhv). In his early years he spent much time with his uncle, the poet, historian and lawspeaker Snorri Sturluson (SnSt, d. 1241), and later he took an active part in the events that played out before and after the collapse of the Icel. Commonwealth. Sturla was lawspeaker in Iceland 1251-2 and lawman, appointed by the Norw. king, 1272-82. In 1263 he went to Norway where he met King Magnús lagabœtir ‘Law-mender’ Hákonarson (d. 1280). After an initially very cool reception, the king commissioned him to write the saga of Magnús’s father Hákon Hákonarson (d. 1264) and also that of Magnús himself. Sturla later became the retainer (hirðmaðr, skutilsveinn) of Magnús and brought the law code Járnsíða ‘Ironside’ from Norway to Iceland in 1271. The story of Sturla’s journey to Norway in 1263 and his dealings with Magnús is recounted in Sturlu þáttr (StÞ), preserved in a version of Stu. In addition to the sagas of Hákon Hákonarson (Hák) and the no longer extant saga of his son Magnús lagabœtir (only two leaves are preserved in AM 325 X 4°), Sturla is the author of Íslendinga saga (Ísls) and of a redaction of Landnámabók (Ldn, in AM 107 folˣ = Stˣ). Some scholars believe that he may have been responsible for the extant redaction of Kristni saga (Kristni) (see LH 1894-1901, II, 98-105, 717-43), and he is also mentioned as an informant by the author of Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar (Gr; see ÍF 7, 157, 226, 289). Like his uncle, Snorri, and his brother, Óláfr, Sturla was a prolific poet. According to Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 256, 260, 272, 279, 384-96), he composed poems in honour of the Norw. kings Hákon Hákonarson and Magnús lagabœtir Hákonarson, and also about the Swed. jarl Birgir Magnússon (d. 1266). Nothing is preserved of Sturla’s panegyrics to the latter, but two sts from his poetry to Magnús are recorded in Hák (see Magnússdrápa (Sturl Magndr) below). The bulk of Sturla’s poetic oeuvre about Hákon Hákonarson is interspersed with the prose in Hák: Hrynhenda (Sturl Hryn), Hákonarkviða (Sturl Hákkv), Hrafnsmál (Sturl Hrafn) and Hákonarflokkr (Sturl Hákfl). In addition to these encomia, Sturla composed poetry about events and dignitaries in Iceland: namely Þverárvísur (Sturl ÞvervIV) and Þorgilsdrápa (Sturl ÞorgdrIV), both of which have been edited in SkP IV. That is also the case with his lvv. (Sturl Lv 1-4IV). One fragment which earlier eds assigned to Hryn (earlier st. 22) has been edited in SkP III as Sturl FragIII. Sturla died on 30 July 1284 and was buried in the Church of S. Peter at Staðarhóll.

Hrynhenda — Sturl HrynII

Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda’ 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. 676-98.

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Skj: Sturla Þórðarson: 3. Hrynhenda, 1262 (AII, 102-8, BII, 113-18); stanzas (if different): 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 22

SkP info: II, 693-4

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

16 — Sturl Hryn 16II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 16’ 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. 693-4.

Ærin, var, sem elding færi
(inn um borð) á lægi norðan,
(öldum varp) er húfum helduð,
hilmis kundr, til jörmungrundar.
Víða þurðu vísa ferðar
veglig flaust und búnu segli;
geiga létuð gyltar sýjur,
grundar vörðr, at Eyrarsundi.

Var, sem ærin elding færi norðan á lægi, {kundr hilmis}, er helduð húfum til jörmungrundar; varp öldum inn um borð. Veglig flaust vísa ferðar þurðu víða und búnu segli; {vörðr grundar}, létuð gyltar sýjur geiga at Eyrarsundi.

It was as if a great flash of lightning travelled from the north across the sea, {son of the ruler} [= Hákon], when you brought the hulls to the vast land; waves were thrown in over the gunwale. Magnificent ships of the leader of the troop raced far and wide under the adorned sail; {defender of the land} [KING], you let gilded ships drift to Øresund.

Mss: F(118vb), E(191v), G(1ra), 81a(119vb), 8(70v), Flat(183rb) (Hák)

Readings: [1] Ærin: Errin 81a, Flat;    færi: væri E    [2] inn um: so all others, innan F;    borð: so all others, borðs F;    á lægi: ‘alegi’ E, ‘al ægi’ G, ‘a legí’ 8, ‘ꜳ legi’ Flat    [3] öldum: öllum E, G;    húfum: ‘hofum’ G    [4] kundr: kunnr G;    til: om. E, G;    jörmungrundar: ‘juarmun nordan’ G, jarmangrundar 81a, danskrar grundar Flat    [5] Víða: so E, G, Flat, Vinda F, 81a, 8;    þurðu: þorðu E, 81a, 8, ‘snuddu’ Flat;    ferðar: ferðir G    [6] ‑lig: ‑ligt 81a    [7] geiga: geisa 81a;    létuð: leituð E, létu 81a;    gyltar: gyldar 81a, Flat;    sýjur: ‘sygiur’ E, Flat    [8] Eyrarsundi: Eyrasundi E, Flat, heyra G

Editions: Skj: Sturla Þórðarson, 3. Hrynhenda 15: AII, 106, BII, 117, Skald II, 62; F 1871, 555, E 1916, 653, Hák 1910-86, 664, Hák 1977-82, 176, Flat 1860-8, III, 199.

Context: King Hákon sailed with 315 ships from Öckerö south through Øresund.

Notes: [2] inn um borð ‘in over the gunwale’: F has the reading innanborðs ‘inside the gunwale’. It seems more natural that the waves were thrown over the gunwale, rather than thrown about inside it, so the reading of the other mss has been chosen here, as in Skj B and Skald. Konráð Gíslason (1895-7, I, 80) followed the reading of F, innanborðs ‘inside the gunwale’, but says in his notes that the reading of the other mss is better. — [2] lægi ‘sea’: The scribes of F, 81a and G write ‘lægi’ but the scribes of E, Flat and 8 write ‘legi’. The long vowels [æ] and [œ] coalesced shortly before 1250. Many Icelandic scribes wrote <æ> for [e] in the C13-14th following the example of Norw. scribes (Stefán Karlsson 2000, 52, 175). Norw. influence on the orthography is clearly evident in both F and E. Lægi could therefore be the dat. of lögr (m. sg.) ‘sea’ or lœgir (m. sg.) ‘sea’, originally probably meaning ‘the still one’ or ‘the quiet one’ (ÍO). — [3] öldum varp ‘waves were thrown’: The verb is used impersonally with öldum (f. dat. pl.) as the object. — [4] jörmungrundar ‘vast land’: Flat has the reading danskrar grundar ‘the Danish lands’, which is accurate as the fleet was heading to Halland (which was under Dan. rule), but it is clearly a lectio facilior. The prefix jörmun- implies something vast or great and occurs in words such as Jǫrmungandr ‘the Midgard serpent’ (CVC). See also the inscription on the Karlevi stone (Run Öl1/7VI). — [5] þurðu víða ‘raced far and wide’: 81a has the reading þorðu vinda ‘dared to turn’ which is possible but clearly secondary. G is the only ms. which has the reading þurðu víða ‘raced far and wide’. F also has þurðu, E, 81a and 8 þorðu ‘dared’, and Flat has snuddu, 3rd pers. pl. pret. indic. of the verb snyðja ‘speed’. Þurðu is the pret. of the verb þyrja ‘sweep, rush along’. — [7] geiga ‘drift’: It seems strange that the ships that were racing are now drifting rather aimlessly to and fro. Konráð Gíslason thought geiga might mean svífa ‘drift, float’, describing the movement of the ships on the water (Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 81; CVC). The reading in 81a, geisa ‘rush’, is a more natural continuation of the previous couplet where the fleet rushes on towards Halland, but the other ms. witnesses show that it is secondary, and it leaves the l. without internal rhyme (also note the rhyme -eig- : -ýj-; see ANG §251). For geiga, see also Note to Sturl Hákkv 32/8. — [7] sýjur (f. nom. sg. sÿja) ‘ships’: This lit. means ‘suture’, referring to the method of joining the boards, súð (f. nom. sg.), by lashing them together. Súð and sýja are both used as pars pro toto for ‘ship’.

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