Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Guthormr sindri, Hákonardrápa’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 156.
Six stanzas and two helmingar remain of this poem (Gsind Hákdr), which is named Hákonardrápa ‘Drápa about Hákon’ in Hkr (ÍF 26, 157) and ÓT (1958-2000, I, 26); on the poem’s title according to Flat see Note to st. 1 [All]. Hákdr may be one of the poems about Hákon góði ‘the Good’ Haraldsson referred to in Egils saga (ÍF 2, 239, 257), which appears to follow the content of several of the extant stanzas quite closely, though without direct quotation. It is uniformly attributed in the sources to Guthormr sindri.
The subject-matter of Hákdr is supplied by episodes from the middle to late career of Hákon góði, sometimes styled Aðalsteinsfóstri ‘foster-son of Æthelstan’; see ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume. Hákon’s kingship in Norway (c. 934-61) was marked by long-running hostilities with the Eiríkssynir or Gunnhildarsynir, sons of his brother Eiríkr blóðøx ‘Blood-axe’ and Gunnhildr. Although the focus of his power was the central western districts, with support from Þrándheimr (Trøndelag), he also exerted intermittent lordship over Vík (Viken, the area around Oslofjorden), here in rivalry with the Gautar (people of Götaland) and Danes (Andersen 1977, 92-4), and it is this aspect of his rule that is reflected in the extant stanzas of Hákdr. The episodes covered are Hákon’s expedition to Denmark and Gautland (Götaland) c. 950 (sts 1-4), his installation of Tryggvi Óláfsson as king in Vík (st. 5), his battle with the Eiríkssynir off Ǫgvaldsnes (Avaldsnes) c. 953 (sts 6-7) and his victory over Gamli Eiríksson at Rastarkálfr (unidentified) c. 955 (st. 8). It is assumed that Hákdr was composed some time prior to Hákon’s death c. 961 (de Vries 1964-7, I, 173), because the surviving stanzas do not cover that or subsequent events. That the poem was composed in Hákon’s lifetime and addressed to him may also be indicated by the use of the second person in st. 3/2 (though the mss vary between second and third person) and the present tense in st. 8/5. Since the poem is styled a drápa, it probably boasted at least one stef ‘refrain’, but, in consequence of its fragmentary preservation, none can be conclusively identified (though see Note to st. 8/5-6).
Hákdr is preserved in the Hkr mss Kˣ (as main ms.), 39 (sts 6-8 only), F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, and the ÓT mss 61, 53 (sts 6-8), 325IX 1 (sts 6-8), Bb, Flat (sts 1-6, 8). Árni Magnússon’s anthology ms. 761bˣ includes st. 6 but has not been cited in the Readings, since it is evidently copied from an extant ms. (most probably 61).
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