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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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SnSt Ht 65III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 65’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1177.

Snorri SturlusonHáttatal

text and translation

Vápna hríð velta náði
vægðarlaus feigum hausi;
hilmir lét hǫggum mœta
herða klett bana verðan.
Fleina lands fylkir rendi
fjǫrnis hlíð meginskíði
— ǫflugt sverð eyddi fyrðum
jǫfri kent — holdi fenta.

{Vægðarlaus hríð vápna} náði velta feigum hausi; hilmir lét {klett herða}, verðan bana, mœta hǫggum. Fylkir rendi {hlíð fjǫrnis}, fenta holdi, {meginskíði {lands fleina}}; ǫflugt sverð, kent jǫfri, eyddi fyrðum.
‘The merciless storm of weapons [BATTLE] was able to topple the doomed skull; the lord made the crag of the shoulders [HEAD], deserving death, meet the blows. The ruler ran through the slope of the helmet [HEAD], snow-covered with flesh, with the mighty ski of the land of spears [SHIELD > SWORD]; the powerful sword, belonging to the prince, destroyed people.

notes and context

This dróttkvætt variant is called draughent ‘ghost-rhymed’ or ‘trunk-rhymed’. Each line is heptasyllabic and the internal rhyme falls in positions 3 and 6 (l. 4: positions 1 and 6). According to the commentary, the deletion of the syllable in position 2 would restore the dróttkvætt metre, although, in that case, some of it will not be ‘smooth’ (mjúkt). This presumably refers to the fact that deletion of the second syllable would create lines with heavy dips carrying internal rhyme (except in ll. 4 and 6) resembling skjálfhent ‘tremble-rhymed’ (st. 35) and tvískelft ‘twice-trembled’ (st. 28).

Other than in RvHbreiðm Hl 7-8, this metrical variant is unattested in Old Norse poetry. — [7]: The R variant of this line, ‘avflvm sotti oddi’, cannot be construed in any meaningful way.



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 65: AII, 69, BII, 79, Skald II, 44; SnE 1848-87, I, 678-81, III, 128, SnE 1879-81, I, 11, 82, II, 25, SnE 1931, 242, SnE 2007, 28; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 40-1.


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