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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 2 December 2021)

 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, 343

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Tindr Hákdr 3I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa 3’ 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. 343.

Dreif at Viðris veðri
— vargr gleypti ná margan —
— varð auðfundit virð*i
valgagls — þinurs hagli,
þars í sundr á sandi
Sǫrla blés fyr jarli
(þess hefr seggja sessi)
serk hringofinn (merki).

Dreif {hagli þinurs} at {veðri Viðris} — vargr gleypti margan ná; {virð*i {valgagls}} varð auðfundit —, þars {hringofinn serk Sǫrla} blés í sundr á sandi fyr jarli; {sessi seggja} hefr merki þess.

{The hail of the bow} [ARROWS] pelted in {the storm of Viðrir <= Óðinn>} [BATTLE] — the wolf swallowed many a corpse; {the meal {of the slaughter-goose}} [RAVEN/EAGLE > CORPSES] was easily found —, where {the ring-woven shirt of Sǫrli <legendary hero>} [MAIL-SHIRT] was blasted apart on the sand before the jarl; {the benchmate of men} [RULER = Hákon] bears the marks of this.

Mss: 510(62r) (Jvs); Kˣ(159v), 39(7va), F(26vb), J1ˣ(96r), J2ˣ(89r-v) (Hkr, ll. 5-8); 61(19vb), 54(16ra-b), Bb(26va) (ÓT, ll. 5-8)

Readings: [2] vargr: vargi 510;    gleypti: grim 510;    ná: á 510    [3] ‑fundit: ‘kundu’ 510;    virð*i: virðri 510    [4] valgagls: ‘vagll agls’ 510;    þinurs: ‘tímis’ 510    [5] þars: hraut 61, þá er 54, Bb;    í: om. Bb;    sandi: sundi Kˣ, 39, J2ˣ    [6] Sǫrla: ‘sarla’ 54, ‘suo᷎rla’ Bb;    blés: so Kˣ, 39, J2ˣ, ‘blígs’ 510, ‘blø̨r’ F, ‘biǫs’ J1ˣ, ‘bæs’ 61, bærs 54, bers Bb    [7] þess: þat 61;    hefr: so Kˣ, 39, F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 61, 54, Bb, hafa 510;    seggja: so Kˣ, 39, F, J2ˣ, 61, 54, Bb, seggir 510, segja J1ˣ    [8] serk: serks F

Editions: Skj: Tindr Hallkelsson, 1. Drape om Hakon jarl 3: AI, 145, BI, 136, Skald I, 75, NN §§165, 303B, 430, 1068; Fms 11, 138, Fms 12, 239, SHI 11, 118-19, 122-3, Jvs 1879, 82; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 331, IV, 90, ÍF 26, 282 (ch. 40), F 1871, 122; Fms 1, 173, Fms 12, 43, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 190 (ch. 90).

Context: In Jvs, Hkr and ÓT, as for st. 1.

Notes: [All]: This stanza might be best placed immediately before or after st. 1, where it is noted that Hákon has to throw away his mail-shirt. Ms. 510 is adopted as the main ms. since the complete stanza is preserved only there, although readings from the other mss are frequently preferable in ll. 5-8. — [1-4]: Line 1 makes sense as it stands in the ms. and, since drífa ‘to drive, pelt’ can be used impersonally with the dat. (LP: 2. drífa 1), it is completed by the dat. sg. hagli þinurs ‘hail of the bow [ARROWS]’ at the end of l. 4. For the rest, it is not feasible to solve the problems of this helmingr without multiple emendations, and all interpretations have been purely tentative (Finnur Jónsson 1886b, 328; Reichardt 1928, 204). (a) This edn adopts vargr for ‘vargi’, gleypti for ‘grim’, and for ‘a’ in l. 2; auðfundit for ‘aud kundu’ and virði for ‘virdri’ in l. 3; and valgagls for ‘vagll agls’ and þinurs for ‘tímis’ in l. 4. Varð ‘was, became’ (l. 3) is guaranteed by rhyme and alliteration, and provides an auxiliary to the widely accepted emendation auðfundit ‘easily found’. The subject of ‘was easily found’ is l. 3 virði, which is here construed as nom. sg. of n. virði ‘meal’, though it could possibly be (instr.) dat. sg. of m. verðr ‘meal’ (Finnur Jónsson 1886b, 329; cf. LP: virði). For the kenning virði/verðr valgagls ‘meal of the slaughter-goose [RAVEN/EAGLE > CORPSES]’, cf. Eskál Lv 2a/2 verðr ulfs and ÞTref Hrafn 3/3V (Eb 33) virði ulfs, each signifying ‘meal of the wolf [CORPSES]’. Ms. ‘grim a margan’ in l. 2 then remains to be accounted for. Varð at the beginning of l. 3, as a finite verb, cannot occupy other than position 1 or 2 in its clause (Kuhn 1983, 190-1). Because other solutions, including the otherwise attractive one proposed by Kock (see (c) below), infringe this rule, it seems necessary to assume that l. 2 also contains a finite verb. Since varg- is guaranteed by rhyme and alliteration and cannot be a verb, the only recourse is to emend grim, and here gleypti ‘swallowed’, from gleypa, is tentatively suggested, as one possibility among several. The noun (m. acc. sg. of nár ‘corpse’) is also conjectural, but correctly fills the syntactic, semantic and metrical slot in a line that, as it stands in the ms., is metrically deficient; the adj. margan, if correct, presupposes a m. object. The principal alternatives are as follows. (b) Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 329; Skj B) proposed reading grimmu ‘savage’ for ms. ‘grim a’ and linking it syntactically with hagli ‘hail’ in l. 4: Grimmu þrimu hagli dreif at Viðris veðri ‘A savage hail of battle [ARROWS] pelted in the weather of Viðrir [BATTLE]’. The other clause is read as mǫrgum vargi varð auðfundit valgagls virði ‘the meal of the slaughter-goose [RAVEN/EAGLE > CORPSE] was easily found for many a wolf’. This solution entails the additional emendation of margan to mǫrgum, qualifying vargi, and produces a tripartite division of l. 2, with mǫrgum vargi interrupted by an element from the first clause. (c) The text proposed by Kock (NN §430, cf. §303B) produces virði valgagls varð auðfundit vargi á morgun ‘the meal of the slaughter-goose [RAVEN/EAGLE > CORPSES] was easily found for the wolf in the morning’, in part on the basis that the battle took place in the morning. Kock also reads grimt, emended from grim, but it is unclear whether this is construed as adj. ‘savage’ or adv. ‘savagely’. The emendations are slight (‘grim’ to grimt, ‘margan’ to morgun) and/or generally accepted (‘aud kundu’ to auðfundit, ‘virdri’ to virði), but this solution has the verb in a proscribed position. — [4] þinurs ‘of the bow’: Emendation of the unintelligible ms. reading tímis is unavoidable, and þinurs both fits the context well and matches kenning usage, where hagl ‘hail’ commonly forms an arrow-kenning with a term for the bow or bow-string (Meissner 146). Þinurr may mean ‘middle of the bow’, i.e. the strongest part (Meissner 146; cf. CVC: þinurr 2), or perhaps ‘bowstring’ (LP: þinurr). The word was proposed, then seemingly retracted, by Kock (NN §§165, 430), as was rimmu ‘battle’. Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 328) first proposed fjǫrnis ‘of the helmet’ and subsequently þrimu (Skj B; LP: þrima 3), gen. sg. from þrima ‘thunder’, a heiti for ‘battle’. — [5] á sandi ‘on the sand’: Á sundi ‘in the inlet’, the reading of and 39, is also possible, but it is likely to be an error influenced by the preceding sundr, while sandi has broader support across the stemma and is adopted by previous eds (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; Skald; ÍF 26). Since the battle is stated in poetic and prose sources to have been fought at sea, the reference to sand is obscure, unless the fighting was close enough to the shore that Hákon could throw his mail-shirt on to the sand (cf. Ohlmarks 1958, 413). — [6] blés ‘was blasted’: Lit., ‘blew’, from blása. Either the usage is impersonal (cf. the use of blása or p. p. blásinn referring to land blasted and laid bare by the wind, CVC: blása III. 2) or there is an implied subject hagl ‘hail’, understood from hagli in l. 4. In either case, the object is serk (m. acc. sg.) ‘shirt’. The verb blés may have been prompted by the combination of ‘weather’ words in the first helmingr (so SHI 11). — [6, 8] hringofinn serk Sǫrla ‘the ring-woven shirt of Sǫrli <legendary hero> [MAIL-SHIRT]’: I.e. made of iron rings (Hkr 1893-1901, IV), a common mode of description for mail-shirts. On Sǫrli and his brother Hamðir, see Note to ÞGísl Búdr 4/2 and the eddic poem Hamð. — [7] sessi seggja ‘the benchmate of men [RULER = Hákon]’: For a parallel to this unusual kenning, which might apply in either ship or hall contexts, cf. Hfr ErfÓl 3/7.

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