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, 682-3

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — Sturl Hryn 6II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 6’ 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. 682-3.

Svíða létu þínar þjóðir
þunnar skeiðr með búnu reiði
— Gautar spurðu leiðangr ljótan —
lunda völl at Mostrarsundi.
Síðan leit, er seglum hlóðu,
snarfengr konungr, yðrir drengir
— lýsa tók af herskips hausum —
hrygðarfólk í Dana bygðum.

Þjóðir þínar létu þunnar skeiðr með búnu reiði svíða {völl lunda} at Mostrarsundi; Gautar spurðu ljótan leiðangr. Síðan leit hrygðarfólk í bygðum Dana, er drengir yðrir, snarfengr konungr, hlóðu seglum; lýsa tók af hausum herskips.

Your men caused the slender warships with adorned tackle to move swiftly across [lit. scorch] {the plain of puffins} [SEA] to Mostrarsund; the Gautar heard about the menacing fleet. Then the rueful people in the settlements of the Danes saw when your warriors, sturdy king, took down the sails; it began to gleam from the warship’s heads.

Mss: F(117vb), E(189v), 81a(118rb), 304ˣ(347r), Flat(182va) (Hák)

Readings: [1] Svíða: so E, 81a, ‘Seíða’ F, sneiða 304ˣ, ‘Sveiða’ Flat    [2] skeiðr: skeiðar 304ˣ;    með: und E, 304ˣ, Flat;    búnu reiði: búnum reiða 81a    [4] at: á 304ˣ;    Mostrar‑: so 304ˣ, Flat, ‘morstrar’ F, ‘mustrar’ E, mostra 81a    [5] leit: so 81a, 304ˣ, lætr F, lét E, Flat;    er: ek E, 81a    [7] hausum: húsum 81a    [8] bygðum: bygðir Flat

Editions: Skj: Sturla Þórðarson, 3. Hrynhenda 6: AII, 103-4, BII, 114-15, Skald II, 60, NN §2285; F 1871, 549, E 1916, 645, Hák 1910-86, 646, Hák 1977-82, 163, Flat 1860-8, III, 191-2.

Context: Hákon’s ships glide across the sea, gleaming in the sun, and land in Halland.

Notes: [All]: According to the prose, King Hákon split up his troops before attacking Halland. One third of the forces sailed to Mostrarsund in northern Halland, the rest went south to Glaumsteinn. Neither of these place names has been identified. — [1] svíða (inf.) ‘move swiftly across [lit. scorch]’: The reading of E and 81a has been chosen here rather than that of F. In F 1871, Unger wrote ‘Sneiða’ without any comments, but upon closer inspection, it is obvious that this reading is incorrect. It seems that the scribe started to write ‘Seiða’ but then tried to change it into something else by adding <y> or <v> in front of the <e>. The left stroke of <y> merges with the <S> and the right stroke is not decisive enough, so ‘Seiða’ is the best reading. In E, Finnur Jónsson read ‘Sniða’ (‘cut’), and printed it that way without comments in Skj A and E 1916, but the scribe clearly wrote ‘Suida’ as did the scribe of 81a. AM 304ˣ has sneiða ‘hurry’, but in view of the readings of the other mss, this looks like a lectio facilior. It is hard to make sense of svíða ‘scorch, burn’ in this context. Possibly the ships are seen from afar leaving a wake so they seem to burn a line across the sea. On the other hand, svíða might be related to the Faroese verb svíða ‘waver’ or ‘rush by’ and the Norw. verb svida ‘move easily’. Flat has ‘Sveiða’ (sveiða) ‘wander, soar’. According to Ásgeir Blöndal Magnússon (ÍO 995), the verb sveiða first appears in Icel. in the C15th, but he points out that there is one example of the verb in pres. part., sveiðandi, which could very well mean svífandi ‘soaring’. It therefore seems reasonable to translate svíða as ‘move swiftly’. — [3] ljótan (adj. m. acc. sg.) ‘menacing’: Lit. ‘ugly’. This is construed here with leiðangr ‘fleet’ but could also be a descriptive element referring to the kenning völl lunda ‘the plain of puffins’ (l. 4), i.e. ‘the ugly sea’, indicating that the ships were sailing over a turbulent sea. Konráð Gíslason (1895-7, I, 72) and Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) thought that ljótan qualified völl lunda, but Kock (NN §2285) disagreed on the grounds that the adj. precedes the heiti or kenning it qualifies in Hryn, if it is not part of the same l. as it is here, so he construed ljótan with leiðangr ‘terrible fleet’ (l. 3) (see also Note to Valg Har 11/4).

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