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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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SnSt Ht 34III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 34’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1141.

Snorri SturlusonHáttatal

text and translation

Flaust bjó fólka treystir
fagrskjǫlduðustum ǫldum;
leið skar bragnings bróðir
bjartveggjuðustu reggi.
Hest rak hilmir rasta
harðsveipaðastan reipum;
sær hlaut við þrǫm þjóta
þunghúfuðustu lungi.

{Treystir fólka} bjó flaust fagrskjǫlduðustum ǫldum; {bróðir bragnings} skar leið bjartveggjuðustu reggi. Hilmir rak {hest rasta} harðsveipaðastan reipum; sær hlaut þjóta við þrǫm þunghúfuðustu lungi.
‘The encourager of troops [WARRIOR] readied a ship with men with the fairest shields; the ruler’s brother [= Skúli] cut the sea with a vessel with the brightest sails. The lord urged on the horse of currents [SHIP], most strongly wrapped with rigging; the sea resounded against the side of the craft with the heaviest hull.

notes and context

Snorri calls this variant of dróttkvætt flagðaháttr ‘ogresses’ form’. All even lines are heptasyllabic, and positions 1-5 are occupied by pentasyllabic adjectives in the superlative.

The headings are 27 () and flagða lag ‘ogresses’ metre’ (U(47r)). See RvHbreiðm Hl 63-4. Holtsmark (Hl 1941, 131 n. 1) proposes that the name of the metre could have come from the hissing sounds produced by the extra syllables with the consonant cluster [st]. Sievers (1893, 109-10) suggested resolution on the syllables in metrical positions 3-4, which is unlikely because the first syllable carries secondary and not primary stress. Other than in Hl and Ht, this variant is attested in VíglÞ Lv 7/2V (Vígl 10). — This stanza and the following three stanzas describe events that took place in 1214 during the so-called Vágsbrúarsumar ‘Vágsbrú summer’, when Ingi Bárðarson and Skúli gathered an army and sailed from Bergen to Trøndelag to force the farmers to pledge allegiance at a legal assembly (see Hák, E 1916, 480 and Bǫgl 1988, II, 127).



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 34: AII, 61, BII, 70, Skald II, 40; SnE 1848-87, I, 644-7, II, 371, 388, III, 119, SnE 1879-81, I, 5, 78, II, 16, SnE 1931, 231, SnE 2007, 18; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 22.


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