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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Hardr 12II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Haraldsdrápa 12’ 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. 273-4.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonHaraldsdrápa

text and translation

Olli ofrausn stillis,
ormalátrs þats máttit,
stáls í strǫngu éli
stríðir elli bíða,
sás aldrigi, aldins
ótams lituðr hramma
viggs, í vápna glyggvi
Varðrúnar, sik sparði.

Ofrausn stillis olli í {strǫngu éli stáls}, þats {stríðir {ormalátrs}} máttit bíða elli, {lituðr hramma {aldins, ótams viggs Varðrúnar}}, sás aldrigi sparði sik í {glyggvi vápna}.
‘The excess of heroism in the ruler caused [this] in the stern blizzard of steel [BATTLE], that the foe of the reptiles’ lair [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN = Haraldr] could not live to see old age, the stainer of the claws of the old, untamed steed of Varðrún <troll-woman> [WOLF > WARRIOR] who never spared himself in the wind-storm of weapons [BATTLE].

notes and context

In Mork and Flat, st. 12 is quoted immediately after st. 10. In H-Hr, an interlude separates sts 10 and 12, in which the Engl. king Harold Godwineson (Haraldr Guðinason) comes to Tostig (Tósti), his own brother but Haraldr Sigurðarson’s ally, with a peace offer that is rejected. The saga reports the common opinion that Tostig’s proposal to return to the ships when confronted by the enemy had been the best. The compiler adds that the Norw. king’s excessive zeal (ofrkapp)—his refusal to act with caution lest it should be construed as cowardice—led to disaster, and the st. is cited to confirm this.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Arnórr Þórðarson jarlaskáld, 6. Erfidrápa om kong Harald hårdråde 13: AI, 351-2, BI, 324, Skald I, 164, NN §2022; Mork 1928-32, 273, Andersson and Gade 2000, 269, 481 (MH); Flat 1860-8, III, 393 (MH); Fms 6, 417 (HSig ch. 118), Fms 12, 165; Whaley 1998, 289-91.


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