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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hallv Knútdr 1III

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2017, ‘Hallvarðr háreksblesi, Knútsdrápa 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 231.

Hallvarðr háreksblesiKnútsdrápa

text and translation

Súðlǫngum komt Sveiða,
— sunds liðu dýr frá grundu —
sigrakkr, Sǫlsa bekkjar,
Sveins mǫgr, á trǫð hreinum.

{Sigrakkr mǫgr Sveins}, komt {súðlǫngum hreinum {bekkjar Sǫlsa}} á {trǫð Sveiða}; {dýr sunds} liðu frá grundu.
‘Battle-bold son of Sveinn [= Knútr], you brought the long-planked reindeer of the bench of Sǫlsi <sea-king> [SEA > SHIPS] onto the path of Sveiði <sea-king> [SEA]; the animals of the sound [SHIPS] glided from land.

notes and context

This stanza is quoted in Skm to illustrate the ship-kenning hreinar Sveiða ‘the reindeer of Sveiði’. After quoting the stanza Snorri comments (SnE 1998, I, 74): Svá kvað Hallvarðr. Hér er ok kǫlluð sunds dýr ok særinn Sǫlsa bekkr ‘So said Hallvarðr. Here it [i.e. a ship] is also called the animal of the sound and the sea the bench of Sǫlsi’.

The two kennings involving sea-kings in this helmingr can be interpreted in different ways (see Faulkes in SnE 1998, I, 199 and Jesch 2000, 251). As seen from the Context above, Snorri gives the kennings as hreinar Sveiða ‘the reindeer of Sveiði <sea-king> [SHIPS]’ and bekkr Sǫlsa ‘the bench of Sǫlsi <sea-king> [SEA]’. However, this might be disputed, not least because it leaves trǫð ‘path’ (l. 4) unattached. Alternative configurations would be: (a) hreinar Sveiða ‘reindeer of Sveiði [SHIPS]’ and trǫð bekkjar Sǫlsa ‘the path of the bench of Sǫlsi [SHIP > SEA]’ (so Skj B, Frank 1994b, and Faulkes in SnE 1998, I, 199); (b) hreinar bekkjar Sǫlsa ‘reindeer of the bench of Sǫlsi  [SEA > SHIPS]’ and trǫð Sveiða ‘the path of Sveiði [SEA]’ (so Jesch 2000). The second of these alternatives is preferred here, as it forms a closer parallel to ÞKolb Eirdr 1/5, 7I vangr Sveiða ‘the field of Sveiði [SEA]’ (see Note to l. 1 below). 



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: Hallvarðr háreksblesi, Knútsdrápa 1: AI, 317, BI, 293, Skald I, 149; SnE 1848-87, I, 440-1, II, 442-3, III, 87, SnE 1931, 156, SnE 1998, I, 74; Frank 1994b, 121, Jesch 2000, 245.


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