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, 696-7

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

19 — Sturl Hryn 19II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 19’ 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. 696-7.

Ríða frák ór borgum breiðum
bragna fjölð — af þínu magni
víða glöddusk valskar þjóðir
varrar eld — í móti svarra.
Síðan kaus um sæmðarfúsa
snildarbrúðr, þann er eiga vildi,
öðlings bræðr, af yðru ráði
æztra manna göfugr svanni.

Frák fjölð bragna ríða ór breiðum borgum í móti svarra; valskar þjóðir glöddusk víða {eld varrar} af magni þínu. Síðan kaus snildarbrúðr um sæmðarfúsa bræðr öðlings, þann er göfugr svanni vildi eiga æztra manna af ráði yðru.

I heard that a multitude of men rode from broad cities towards the proud lady; the southern people rejoiced far and wide {in the fire of the sea} [GOLD] from your power. Then the eloquent bride chose amongst the brothers of the ruler, eager for honour, the one that the noble, proud lady wanted to have of the foremost of men according to your counsel.

Mss: F(119rb), E(192v-193r), G(1rb), 81a(120va), Flat(183vb) (Hák)

Readings: [1] Ríða: Reiða E, G, 81a    [3] valskar: vaskar G    [4] eld: elds Flat;    í: á E;    svarra: ‘svraia’ G    [5] ‑fúsa: ‘‑fussa’ 81a    [6] er eiga: eigi 81a    [7] öðlings: auðliga G;    af: á E    [8] æztra manna: æztan mann sjá Flat

Editions: Skj: Sturla Þórðarson, 3. Hrynhenda 19: AII, 107-8, BII, 118, Skald II, 62-3; F 1871, 558, E 1916, 657, Hák 1910-86, 673, Flat 1860-8, III, 203.

Context: Sturla returns to the description of Princess Kristín’s journey to Spain in 1257. The princess enjoyed a royal reception in every city she came to and finally chose Prince Philip to be her husband.

Notes: [1] ríða ‘rode’: Lit. ‘ride’ (inf.). Mss E, G and 81a have the reading reiða ‘carry’ which could be taken with varrar eld ‘fire of the oarstroke’: Ek frá fjölð bragna reiða eld varrar ór breiðum borgum í móti svarra ‘I heard that a multitude of men carried the fire of the oarstroke from broad cities towards the proud lady’. Earlier eds prefer the F, Flat variant. — [3] valskar ‘southern’: Valland designated France, Normandy and Italy (ÍO). It is used here in the general meaning ‘southerners, the people of France and Spain’. See also Note to Mark Eirdr 24/2. The reading in G, vaskar ‘bold’, makes sense also, but it is not supported by the other ms. witnesses. — [4] eld (m. dat. sg.) ‘fire’: Earlier eds emend to eldi (m. dat. sg.), because gleðjask ‘rejoice’ takes the dat. (see NS §109). That emendation is unnecessary, however, if we assume a dat. form without the -i ending, i.e. declined as an i-stem rather than an a-stem (see ANG §358.3). The dat. eldi is used elsewhere in this poem, however (see st. 12/3), and it is possible that the -i ending has been lost in hiatus (elision). For the kenning eld varrar ‘fire of the sea’ (i.e. ‘gold’), see also st. 1/2 above. — [4] svarra ‘proud lady’: The scribe of G seems to have written ‘svraia’. There clearly is a -ra abbreviation sign, not -ar sign as Finnur Jónsson tentatively suggested (Skj A), possibly a failed attempt to correct a mistake. — [6] þann er vildi ‘the one that (she) wanted to have’: The reading in 81a, þann eigi vildi ‘the one that (she) did not want’, does not fit with the prose narrative, nor does it make much sense from a logical point of view.

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