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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Poem about Haraldr hárfagri — Þjóð HarI

Þjóðólfr ór Hvini

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Poem about Haraldr hárfagri’ 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. 60.

 

These five stanzas (Þjóð Har) concern Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ Hálfdanarson (r. c. 860-c.932; see ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume), but their unity is questionable, and their authenticity is far from certain. Stanzas 1-3 doubtless belong together, given that they are presented all together in Haralds þáttr hárfagra (HarHárf) in Flat, and given the similarity of their style and their common subject: the popularity and generosity of Haraldr. There is also a relative sameness to their irregular metre, a blend of fornyrðislag, kviðuháttr and málaháttr. Stanza 4, concerning the battle of Hafrsfjǫrðr (Hafrsfjorden, c. 885-c. 890), is presented several chapters later, and although its content is dissimilar, like the others it pertains to Haraldr hárfagri, and it has their style and form. It is attributed in Flat not to Þjóðólfr but to his contemporary Þorbjǫrn hornklofi (Þhorn), but this may well be an error arising from the fact that its opening line is identical with Þhorn Harkv 10/1. Stanza 5 is found in a different text, Fsk (and then only in the FskA transcripts), and it is also attributed to Þorbjǫrn. However, it too may well belong with Þjóð Har, since it concerns Haraldr, referring to his nickname Lúfa ‘Shaggy-locks’ (cf. st. 4/1), is stylistically compatible and could be composed in the same metre. It was tentatively assigned to the present poem, as its first stanza, in SnE (1848-87, III, 399-400), and is printed by Finnur Jónsson as a possible st. 5 in Skj AI, 21, though only in the apparatus of variants to st. 4; it is omitted from Skj BI, 19 on grounds of its fragmentary nature. Finnur (Skj AI, 20) also treats the attribution of sts 1-4 to Þjóðólfr as implausible, labelling the poem næppe ægte ‘hardly genuine’. Indeed, the diction of all these stanzas is notably less poetic than that of any of Þjóðólfr’s known compositions, and they may be a later imitation of Þhorn Harkv.

Stanzas 1-4 are found only in Flat. They were copied by Árni Magnússon in 761aˣ (fols 22r and 28v), but this ms. offers no original witness, only a likely emendation (see Note to st. 2/1). Stanza 5 is preserved in the FskA transcripts 301ˣ (used as main ms. since it is the one with the fullest text), FskAˣ and 52ˣ. It was apparently only partly legible in the exemplar when the transcripts were made, as they preserve it imperfectly.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj A = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15a. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. A: Tekst efter håndskrifterne. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1967. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  4. Internal references
  5. Edith Marold 2017, ‘Snorra Edda (Prologue, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál)’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  6. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Flateyjarbók (Flat)’ 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, pp. clxi-clxii.
  7. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Fagrskinna (Fsk)’ 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, pp. clix-clxi.
  8. Not published: do not cite (HarHárfII)
  9. R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Biography of) Þorbjǫrn hornklofi’ 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. 73.
  10. R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál)’ 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. 91.
  11. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) 10’ 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. 105.
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