Diana Whaley 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Haraldsdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 260-80.
Judging from the twelve sts and five helmingar printed here as Haraldsdrápa ‘Drápa about Haraldr’ (Arn Hardr), the scope of the poem was not the entire colourful career of King Haraldr harðráði ‘Hard-rule’ Sigurðarson (c. 1015-66), but simply the last few years. According to the anecdote set c. 1045-6 in Mork (1928-32, 116-18, cf. Flat 1860-8, III, 321-3, Fms 6, 195-8), Arnórr would have covered Haraldr’s life up to that time in his Blágagladrápa ‘Drápa of the Dark Geese’; the anecdote also has Arnórr promise Haraldr a memorial poem in his honour if he outlives him. Hardr’s focus on the final years, and its character—grandiose but lacking the engaged specificity of Arnórr’s coverage of Orcadian events in Þorfdr (cf. Edwards 1979, 89-90)—tallies with the fact that Arnórr features little in the prose tales of Haraldr, and obviously did not enjoy a position with him equal to that of Þjóðólfr Arnórsson (ÞjóðA). From the prayer in st. 17, Hardr was clearly an erfidrápa ‘memorial drápa’, but there is no address to an audience of retainers such as has been preserved from Arn Magndr and Arn Þorfdr.
The authorship of the Hardr sts is unproblematic, and the assignment of sts to the poem mainly so. The poem is not explicitly named Haraldsdrápa in medieval sources, though the reference in Mork, Flat and H-Hr to an erfidrápa for Haraldr is a close approximation (see Note to st. 14 [All]), and st. 5 is cited from a poem about Haraldr. Haraldr is named in st. 16 and the kenning vǫrðr Grikkja ok Garða ‘guardian of Greeks and of Russia (Garðar)’ in st. 17/3 is highly appropriate to Haraldr (see Note). As would be expected given Haraldr’s outstanding patronage of skalds, there is usually other poetic evidence for his leadership of the campaigns celebrated in Hardr, all of which date between 1062 and 1066: the sea-battle off the Nissan estuary (Niz, Halland) against Sveinn Úlfsson (sts 2-4); the punitive attacks on the Oppland (Upplǫnd) provinces of Norway (sts 5-6); and the Engl. campaign: victory by the Ouse (sts 7-9) and defeat at Stamford Bridge (sts 10-13). Stanzas 8 and 11 lack specific detail but are cited alongside more diagnostic sts in the prose sources. In the case of st. 1, which depicts the prince reddening bright blades on Fyn (Fjón), the subject could theoretically be Magnús inn góði (who reddens bright banners on Fyn in Arn Magndr 18), and here only the prose tradition identifies him as Haraldr and implies placement at the beginning of the chronology. There is no reason to apportion the sts about Haraldr to two different poems, one of ‘Praise’ and the other an erfidrápa about the Engl. campaign (so CPB II, 191-2), and the compilers of Mork and Flat seem only to have known one poem (see Note to st. 11 [All]). Two part-sts describing battle-carnage and preserved only in SnE or TGT are printed in Skj as Hardr 5 and 6, but in the absence of internal or external evidence that they concern Haraldr they are printed in SkP III as Arn Frag 2III and Arn Frag 7III respectively.
The main problem of ordering concerns the relative chronology of the battle of the Nissan (sts 2-4) and the Oppland rebellion (sts 5-6). This also arises for ÞjóðA Sex and is discussed in the Introduction to that poem; the same ordering has been tentatively adopted here. A less significant difficulty is the internal ordering of the Stamford Bridge sts: st. 10 makes a fitting start, and the others are ordered in this edn as st. 11 (praise of Haraldr’s valour in battle), st. 12 (regret that his excessive heroism caused his death) and st. 13 (his fall, loyalty of his followers). This departs from the ordering sts 12, 11, 13 in the prose sources (and in Skj), but the sts are separated there both by prose passages and by citations from other skalds, so they do not necessarily constitute a continuous extract from Hardr. The vague praises of sts 14-17 progress from thoughts of worldly pre-eminence to the ‘holy land on high’ and so ordered make a fitting conclusion to the poem, perhaps not unlike the original one, though this remains conjectural given that all four are sole helmingar and external pointers are lacking.
As with Arnórr’s poems for Magnús góði (Arn Hryn and Arn Magndr), Hardr is best represented (in quantity if not quality) in H-Hr: mss H and Hr have all the sts printed here except sts 5, 6 and 17. Mork (Mork) and Flat (Flat) have the same complement except that they lack st. 1. Fsk has only sts 11 and 13, and they are only in FskAˣ, not FskBˣ. Hkr (Kˣ as main ms., F, E, J2ˣ) has sts 1, 4, 11 and 13, and 39 has sts 1, 4, all in HSig. Stanza 5 is also in ÓHHkr in Kˣ and 325XI 2 f but not in other Hkr mss, and in the ÓH mss listed in the edn of that st. below. SnE cites sts 6, 17 (R as main ms., Tˣ, U, A), while W (and ms. 2368ˣ of LaufE) has st. 17 only and B, C have st. 6 only. The B text is badly damaged and is represented mainly by the copy in 744ˣ.
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