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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Tindr Hallkelsson (Tindr)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Russell Poole;

Hákonardrápa (Hákdr) - 11

Skj info: Tindr Hallkelsson, Islandsk skjald, d. efter 1015. (AI, 144-7, BI, 136-9).

Skj poems:
1. Drape om Hakon jarl
2. Lausavísur

Tindr Hallkelsson (Tindr), an Icelander, was born around the middle of the tenth century and belonged to the illustrious family of Gilsbekkingar; he bore the nickname inn frœkni ‘the Brave’ (Finnur Jónsson 1886b, 309-10). His father occupied a property called Hallkelsstaðir, according to Harðar saga Grímkelssonar (ÍF 13, 96). Ldn (ÍF 1, 82-3) mentions him as a brother of the chieftain Illugi svarti ‘the Black’ at Gilsbakki, thus paternal uncle of the poet Gunnlaugr ormstunga ‘Serpent-tongue’ (GunnlIV), as noted in Gunnlaugs saga (ÍF 3, 58; cf. ÍF 13, 138). He was also a fifth-generation descendant of the skald Bragi Boddason (BragiIII; ÍF 1, 82) and great-grandfather of Gísl Illugason (GíslII; ÍF 1, 111; cf. ÍF 3, 331). His skills as a poet within this skaldic lineage are discussed by de Vries (1964-7, I, 178). His daughters Jóreiðr and Hallveig and son Þorvaldr are mentioned in Ldn (ÍF 1, 108, 137, 111 respectively); the name of a wife, if any, is not recorded.

Little is known about Tindr’s life and career, the fullest source being the incompletely preserved and historically unreliable Heiðarvíga saga (Heið). Ldn (ÍF 1, 83) notes his part in avenging the death of his brother, perhaps early in his adult life before his time in Norway. Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 256, 280) includes him among the poets affiliated to Hákon jarl Sigurðarson. Both Fsk (‘A’ redaction only, ÍF 29, 131) and the version of Jvs in ms. 510 (Jvs 1879, 82) show him fighting on Hákon’s side at the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen, c. 985) (cf. Finnur Jónsson 1886b, 309) and as having composed Hákonardrápa, his main surviving work, as a detailed narrative on that theme, probably shortly after the action (LH I, 536). There are no reliable reports of his serving other rulers. The statement in Harðar saga (ÍF 13, 36) that places him in Norway as early as the reign of Haraldr gráfeldr ‘Grey-cloak’ (c. 961-c. 970) can be dismissed on chronological grounds (LH I, 536; ÍF 13, 96 n. 4). After his return to Iceland Tindr played a prominent role in the famous Heiðarvíg ‘Battle of the heath’ (c. 1015), as reported in Heið (ÍF 3, 298). The saga (ÍF 3, 307) includes two lausavísur spoken by him as he lies severely wounded in the battle (Tindr Lv 1-2V (Heið 14-15)); his death apparently followed shortly afterwards.

Hákonardrápa — Tindr HákdrI

Russell Poole 2012, ‘ Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 336. <> (accessed 21 January 2022)

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11 

Skj: Tindr Hallkelsson: 1. Drape om Hakon jarl, o. 987 (AI, 144-7, BI, 136-8)

SkP info: I, 341

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — Tindr Hákdr 2I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa 2’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 341.

Gatat óhræðinn œðra
(oddgaldrs) ok Sigvaldi
(vítt frák veiti-Njóta*)
viðrnám Búi (kvômu),
áðr mótrǫðuls mœttu
magnendr Gymis vagna
— sǫng at sverða þingi
sárla — þrœnzkum jarli.

Óhræðinn Búi ok Sigvaldi gatat œðra viðrnám — frák {veiti-Njóta* {oddgaldrs}} kvômu vítt —, áðr {{{{Gymis vagna} mót}rǫðuls} magnendr} mœttu þrœnzkum jarli; sǫng sárla at {þingi sverða}.

The fearless Búi and Sigvaldi did not receive more distinguished opposition — I heard {the proffering Njótar <= Óðinn’s> {of the point-chant}} [BATTLE > WARRIORS] came from afar — before {the empowerers {of the clash {of the sun {of the wagons of Gymir <sea-giant>}}}} [(lit. ‘empowerers of the clash-sun of the wagons of Gymir’) SHIPS > SHIELD > BATTLE > WARRIORS] met the Trøndelag jarl [Hákon]; it sang grievously at {the assembly of swords} [BATTLE].

Mss: 510(62r) (Jvs)

Readings: [1] Gatat: gat 510    [2] ok: enn 510    [3] frák: sǫkk 510;    veiti‑: ‘næte’ 510;    Njóta*: njótar 510    [4] i: Búa 510;    kvômu: ‘kuanti’ 510    [5] mœttu: máttu 510    [6] magnendr: ‘magrendur’ 510;    Gymis: Grímnis 510

Editions: Skj: Tindr Hallkelsson, 1. Drape om Hakon jarl 2: AI, 145, BI, 136, Skald I, 75, NN §§429, 2008H, 3097G; Fms 11, 138, Fms 12, 238-9, SHI 11, 118, 121-2, Jvs 1879, 82.

Context: As for st. 1 in Jvs.

Notes: [1-4]: The helmingr apparently refers back to unopposed raiding on the part of the Danish and Wendish forces in Norway prior to Hákon’s stand against them. Ohlmarks (1958, 412) therefore suggests that the verbs should be understood as pluperfect (‘had received’, ‘had come’). It is reported in Hkr (ÍF 26, 277) that the Jómsvíkingar headed from Agðir (Agder) to Rogaland, and raided Hákon’s territory as they headed north up the coast. — [1] gatat ‘did not receive’: Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 324-5; Skj B), followed by Reichardt (1928, 105-6 n. 75) and Kock (Skald), emends ms. gat to gatat ‘did not receive’, on the grounds that the negative is necessary for sense and that gat is too light a syllable for this position. The metrical reason does not hold, since the line can be analysed as a Type C-line, but a negative is certainly required. On the sg. form gat(at), see Note to ll. 2, 4. — [1] œðra ‘more distinguished’: (a) This edn retains the ms. reading ‘ædra’, reading it as the comp. adj. qualifying viðrnám ‘opposition’. (b) Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 324; Skj B; also Reichardt 1928, 105-6 n. 75) emends it to gen. sg. æðru (as already in the paper ms. AM 288 4o), to give óhræðinn æðru, literally ‘unafraid of fear’, which Finnur (Skj B) explains as der ikke lod sig overvælde af frygt ‘who did not allow himself to be overwhelmed by fear’. However, the emendation is not necessary and the phrase óhræðinn æðru tautological. (c) A further solution proposed by Sveinbjörn Egilsson (Fms 12; SHI 11; LP (1860): oddgaldr) and Kock (NN §429) yields an unsatisfactory kenning in l. 3 (Reichardt 1928, 105-6 n. 75). — [2, 4] i ok Sigvaldi ‘Búi and Sigvaldi’: Emendation is all but unavoidable here, and is adopted by most eds. The two names form a cpd subject, with the sg. verb gatat ‘did not receive’ agreeing with the strict grammatical subject óhræðinn Búi ‘the fearless Búi’ and the phrase ok Sigvaldi ‘and Sigvaldi’ placed in anticipation of that subject (cf. Finnur Jónsson 1886b, 325; NS §70a). Sigvaldi jarl Strút-Haraldsson and Búi digri ‘the Stout’ Vésetason are also named in Þskúm Lv 1/3, 4, and are prominent in later medieval tradition as leaders of the semi-legendary Jómsvíkingar (cf. ÞGísl Búdr and Bjbp Jóms). — [3] frák ‘I heard’: Ms. ‘sauck’ (normalised sǫkk) is difficult to accommodate in the helmingr (the suggestion in Fms 12 is unconvincing). This edn emends to frák and construes this with the past inf. kvômu ‘come, to have come’, itself an emendation (see Note to l. 4). Hykk ‘I believe’ is adopted by previous eds, following Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 325; Skj B), but is slightly more distant from the ms. reading. — [3] veiti- ‘proffering’: Emended from ms. ‘næte’, which is excluded for reasons of alliteration and sense. Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 325; Skj B; LP: vætti-Njótr) prefers vætti- ‘awaiting, preparing for’, but this form gives inferior sense: the raiders are actively proffering warfare, not waiting. Kock (NN §429) emends to vægi, from vægir, a heiti for ‘sword’ (Þul Sverða 4/1III). — [3] Njóta* ‘Njótar <= Óðinns>’: Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 325) wavers between this emended acc. pl. form and the ms. reading Njótar, a nom. pl. form which would entail construal of kvômu as a finite verb (3rd pers. pl. pret. indic.) ‘came’ rather than a past inf. ‘to have come’. Kock (NN §3097G) advocates retention of Njótar. — [4] kvômu ‘came’: Ms. ‘kuantí’ is emended by all eds to kvômu, which is here the past inf., lit. ‘to have come’. — [6] vagna Gymis ‘of the wagons of Gymir <sea-giant> [SHIPS]’: The emendation of ms. grimnis (normalised Grímnis) to Gymis/gymis is due to Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 326) and has been accepted by subsequent eds. Gymir as a sea-heiti appears to be both a common noun and a proper name (LP: 1. gymir), and either is possible here. Gymir is also named in Þjóð Yt 18/11: see Note, and for the personification of the sea, cf. Refr Ferðv 2III and McKinnell (2005, 66). — [8] þrœnzkum jarli ‘the Trøndelag jarl [Hákon]’: Þrœnzkr is the adj. denoting those from Þrándheimr, the region of Trøndelag, which was the power-base of Hákon jarl Sigurðarson and his dynasty, the jarls of Hlaðir (Lade). — [8] sárla : jarli: Aðalhendingar with unequal quantities are a sporadic licence in skaldic poetry.

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