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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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SnSt Ht 18III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 18’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1123.

Snorri SturlusonHáttatal

text and translation

Blóð fremr — hlǫkk at háðisk,
heldr slitnar dul — vitni;
skjǫldr, en skatnar foldir,
skelfr harðr, taka varða.
Fal lætr of her hvítan
hollr gramr rekinn framðan;
en tiggja sonr (seggjum
svalr brandr) dugir (grandar).

Blóð fremr vitni; heldr slitnar dul, at hlǫkk háðisk; harðr skjǫldr skelfr, en skatnar taka varða foldir. Hollr gramr lætr hvítan rekinn fal framðan of her; svalr brandr grandar seggjum, en {sonr tiggja} dugir.
‘Blood benefits the wolf; rather, concealment is ended that a battle was waged; the hard shield shakes, and men begin to defend the lands. The loyal lord makes the white inlaid spear-socket advance above the army; the cool sword injures men, and the ruler’s son [= Hákon] is capable.

notes and context

As st. 17 above. The antitheses occur only in the even lines. Both the refhvǫrf constructions and the content of the stanza are explained in the accompanying prose commentary.

The headings are xi. háttr ‘the eleventh verse-form’ ((49r)) and ǫnnur refhvǫrf ‘the second fox-turns’ (U(47r)). — The words containing the antitheses are the following: heldr ‘holds’ (taken as 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of halda ‘hold’ rather than as the comp. adv. heldr ‘rather’) : slitnar ‘is ended’; dul ‘concealment’ : vitni ‘testimony’ (rather than vitni ‘wolf’) (l. 2); skelfr ‘shaking’ (taken as an adj., m. nom. sg., rather than as 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of the verb skjálfa ‘shake’) : harðr ‘hard’; taka ‘take’ : varða ‘defend’ (l. 4); hollr ‘loyal’ : gramr ‘unfriendly’ (taken as an adj., m. nom. sg., rather than as the noun gramr ‘lord’); rekinn ‘driven away’ (rather than ‘inlaid’) : framðan ‘advanced’ (l. 6); svalr ‘cool’ : brandr ‘fire’; dugir ‘benefits’ : grandar ‘injures’ (l. 8). — [5-6]: As they stand in the mss, these lines read fal (hal W, fall U) látið her hvítan | hollr gramr rekinn framðan, i.e. hollr gramr, látið hvítan rekinn fal framðan her ‘loyal lord, you let the white inlaid spear-socket (‘man’ W, ‘fall’ U) be advanced to (or: for) the army’ which makes no sense in the context. The reading lætr of her (so earlier eds) is taken over from the prose commentary (SnE 2007, 13): Ok <í> þriðja fjórðungi er svá, at hollr gramr of her lætr framðan fal hvítan rekinn ‘And in the third couplet it is so, that the loyal lord makes the white inlaid spear-socket advance above the army’.



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: Snorri Sturluson, 2. Háttatal 18: AII, 57, BII, 65, Skald II, 38, NN §§1779B, 2175; SnE 1848-87, I, 626-7, II, 370, 382, III, 115, SnE 1879-81, I, 3, 76, II, 11, SnE 1931, 224, SnE 2007, 12-13; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 12.


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