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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eskál Vell 26I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, Vellekla 26’ 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. 315.

Einarr skálaglamm HelgasonVellekla

text and translation

Ok við frost at freista
fémildr konungr vildi
myrk- Hlóðynjar -markar
morðalfs, þess’s kom norðan,
þás valserkjar virki
veðrhirði bað stirðan
fyr hlym-Njǫrðum hurða
Hagbarða gramr varða.

Ok {fémildr konungr {Hlóðynjar myrkmarkar}} vildi at freista {morðalfs} við frost, þess’s kom norðan, þás gramr bað {stirðan {{valserkjar} veðr}hirði} varða virki fyr {{{Hagbarða hurða} hlym}-Njǫrðum}.
‘And the generous king of the Hlóðyn = Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’) of the dark forest <= Myrkviðr> [JUTLAND > DANISH KING = Haraldr blátǫnn] wanted at the time of the frost to test the battle-elf [WARRIOR = Hákon jarl] who came from the north, as the ruler bade the unbending keeper of the weather of the shirt of the slain [(lit. ‘weather-keeper of the slain-shirt’) MAIL-SHIRT > BATTLE > WARRIOR = Hákon jarl] to defend the rampart against the Nirðir <gods> of the din of the doors of Hagbarði <legendary hero> [(lit. ‘din-Nirðir of the doors of Hagbarði’) SHIELDS > BATTLE > WARRIORS].

notes and context

See st. 25.

This and the following stanzas relate to an armed conflict between the German Emperor Otto II and the Danish king Haraldr blátǫnn. The year following the death of Otto I (973), Haraldr advanced into Holstein, whereupon Otto II conquered the Danevirke and defeated him. Various legends developed in Scandinavia surrounding this event, all of which report that Hákon jarl fought alongside Haraldr (on the legends’ development see Ussing 1928; on the portrayal of the event in Old Icelandic literature see Marold 2001a, 85-92).



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: Einarr Helgason skálaglamm, 3. Vellekla 27: AI, 129, BI, 122, Skald I, 68, NN §§318, 406; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 299-300, IV, 81, ÍF 26, 256-7, Hkr 1991, I, 172 (ÓTHkr ch. 26), F 1871, 112; Fms 1, 123, Fms 12, 36, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 136 (ch. 69).


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