Cite as: Richard L. Harris (ed.) 2017, ‘Hjálmþés saga ok Ǫlvis 1 (Tóki víkingr, Lausavísa 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 493.
two stanzas, Tóki the viking and Hjálmþér exchange
formulaic insulting greetings before fighting one another. Tóki issues the challenge to fight when he discovers Hjálmþér
has killed his brother Kollr.
|Hverir eru skálkar, er skipum ráða,
heldr harðsnúnir, happalausir?
|Vér skulum lýði lífi ræna |
ok með oss öllum auði skipta.
Hverir eru skálkar, er ráða skipum, heldr harðsnúnir, happalausir? Vér skulum ræna lýði lífi ok skipta öllum auði með oss.
Who are the rogues who command the ships, rather stubborn [and] luckless? We will rob the men of life and divide all the wealth among us.
Mss: 109a IIIˣ(262v), papp6ˣ(44r), ÍBR5ˣ(82) (HjǪ)
Readings:  skipum ráða: so papp6ˣ, ÍBR5ˣ, ‘s[…]ip[…]’ 109a IIIˣ  skulum lýði: so papp6ˣ, ÍBR5ˣ, ‘sk[…]’ 109a IIIˣ  öllum: so papp6ˣ, ÍBR5ˣ, vel 109a IIIˣ
Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 16. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Hjálmþérs saga ok Ǫlvis I 1: AII, 333, BII, 353-4, Skald II, 191; HjǪ 1720, 12, FSN 3, 461, FSGJ 4, 187, HjǪ 1970, 11, 72, 124.
Context: The stanza is spoken by Tóki, described as large
and of evil appearance, when he catches sight of Hjálmþér’s ships and men.
Notes: [All]: The insulting terms of the challenge are intentionally significant. Skálkr in the sense ‘rogue’ (l. 1) appears in Old Norse texts from c. 1320, possibly influenced by Middle Low German (AEW, ONP, Fritzner: skalkr); its earlier and more common meaning is ‘slave, servant’. Lýðr ‘the men’ (l. 5) is often used of ‘common folk’. — [All]: Gould (1909, 214-15), cites the rhetorical parallels in the exchange between adversaries here and those in an episode of ÞorstVík among a number of similarities between the two texts, the latter of which in his view served as a source for this confrontational episode in HjǪ. —  happalausir ‘luckless’: Both the compounds happalauss and happlauss have been recorded (LP has an entry under both heads) but the trisyllabic form is presumably used here for metrical regularity. The adj. happlauss occurs in another taunting context, when Egill Skallagrímsson challenges Ljótr inn bleiki ‘the Pale’, calling him ironically happlauss kappi ‘the hapless champion’ (Egill Lv 33/4V (Eg 62)).