Cite as: Hubert Seelow (ed.) 2017, ‘Hálfs saga ok Hálfsrekka 29 (Innsteinn Gunnlaðarson, Innsteinskviða 9)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 327.
The second part of Innkv (Hálf 29-33) is separated from the first in the saga by a short prose passage describing the events in Ásmundr’s hall where Hálfr and the Hálfsrekkar have been feasting. It takes the form of a monologue spoken by Innsteinn to encourage Hálfr and the other Hálfsrekkar to fight and to leave the burning hall. There are some discrepancies between the prose introduction and the stanzas of this part that are discussed in the Notes below.
context: This stanza is preceded by a prose
paragraph. Hálfr attends King Ásmundr’s banquet with half his troops. When
the guests have fallen asleep, Ásmundr and his men set fire to the hall. One of
Hálfr’s champions wakes up and, realising that the hall is filled with smoke,
says: Rjúka mun um hauka vára nú ‘Now
there will be smoke around our hawks’. He then goes back to sleep. Another of
Hálfr’s men wakes up and, realising that the hall is on fire, says: Drjúpa man nú vax af söxum ‘Now wax will
drip from the swords’. He then lies down again. Then King Hálfr awakes. He
rises, wakes up his men and orders them to take their arms. They attempt to get
out by jumping against the walls. The stanza is introduced by the words: Þá kvað Innsteinn ‘Then Innsteinn said’.
stanza is spoken by Innsteinn and warns indirectly that the hall is on fire. In
the prose text ll. 1-2 are attributed to one of the Hálfsrekkar, and ll. 3-4 to
another, while the hortatory remarks of the second helmingr are attributed in the prose to King Hálfr, who in the poem
seems not to have yet woken from his postprandial sleep. — [3-4]: Munch (1852-63, I, i, 304 n. 1) suggests that wax, smeared on the warriors’ weapons to prevent corrosion, will melt in the heat of the fire and drip down. It seems that sword blades may have been coated with a thin layer of wax to prevent them rusting.
texts: ‹Hálf 29›
editions: Skj Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: E. 6. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Hálfssaga VII 1 (AII, 261; BII, 282); Skald II, 147-8, NN §2836; Hálf 1864, 22, Hálf 1909, 107-8, FSGJ 2, 115, Hálf 1981, 123-4, 183; Edd. Min. 36.