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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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SnSt Ht 75III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 75’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1186.

Snorri SturlusonHáttatal

text and translation

Hrinda lætr hniggrund
hafbekks snekkjur,
þás falla, fleinþollr
frár, mál, stálum.
Hlummi lítr hergramr
hirðmenn spenna,
en rœði raungóð,
rógálfr, skjálfa.

{Frár fleinþollr} lætr snekkjur hrinda {hniggrund {hafbekks}} stálum, þás mál falla. {Hergramr rógálfr} lítr hirðmenn spenna hlummi, en raungóð rœði skjálfa.
‘The swift spear-fir [WARRIOR] makes warships thrust against the bucking-ground of the sea-bench [SHIP > SEA] with prows when times are opportune. The battle-grim strife-elf [WARRIOR] sees retainers grasp oar-handles, and very good oars tremble.

notes and context

The metre is náhent ‘close-rhymed’. The even lines are structured similarly to the even lines in stúfhent ‘stump-rhymed’ (st. 74), and the odd lines are catalectic variants of málaháttr with internal rhyme (skothending, the second of which falls in line-final position) and two alliterating staves.

The rubric in R is lxviii. — For this metre, see also RvHbreiðm Hl 29-30. It is not attested elsewhere. As far as the odd lines are concerned, ll. 1 and 5 are structured as hálfhnept ‘half-curtailed’ even lines (see st. 77). For metrically similar (non-catalectic) lines in málaháttr, see, e.g. Þhorn Harkv 6/1I Úti vill jól drekka lit. ‘Out at sea wants Yuletide to toast’ (= ll. 1, 5) and Am 64/3 (NK 257) at árna ánauðgom lit. ‘to plea for the oppressed one’ (= ll. 3, 7). — [4]: This tripartite line is awkward. The vowel in frár ‘swift’ is difficult to read in R (Finnur Jónsson (Skj A) reads ‘fror’), and the W variant fjǫr ‘life’ cannot be construed to make any sense in the context. Kock (NN §2185) emends to fœr ‘passable’ which he takes with mál (n. nom. pl.) ‘times’. As Faulkes (SnE 2007, 69) points out, fœr as an adj. qualifying mál makes little sense. The other even lines contain a disyllabic cpd in positions 1-2, and a noun farmál ‘opportune time to travel’ would be possible, but is not warranted by the ms. witnesses.



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 75: AII, 72, BII, 82, Skald II, 45, NN §§2185, 3147; SnE 1848-87, I, 690-3, III, 130, SnE 1879-81, I, 12, 83, II, 28, SnE 1931, 246, SnE 2007, 31-2; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 47-8.


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