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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Hardr 11II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Haraldsdrápa 11’ 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. 272-3.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonHaraldsdrápa
101112

Hafðit brjóst, né bifðisk
bǫðsnart konungs hjarta
í hjalmþrimu, hilmir
hlítstyggr fyr sér lítit,
þars til þengils hersa
þat sá herr, at skatna
blóðugr hjǫrr ins barra
beit dǫglinga hneitis.

Hlítstyggr hilmir hafðit lítit brjóst fyr sér, né bifðisk bǫðsnart hjarta konungs í {hjalmþrimu}, þars herr sá þat til {þengils hersa}, at blóðugr hjǫrr {ins barra hneitis dǫglinga} beit skatna.

The prince, shunning mediocrity, had no small courage in himself, and the battle-swift heart of the king did not tremble in {the helmet-din} [BATTLE], where the army saw, watching {the lord of hersar} [RULER], that the bloody sword {of the zealous subduer of princes} [RULER] bit men.

Mss: (582v), F(53rb), E(27v), J2ˣ(297v) (Hkr); FskAˣ(306-307) (Fsk); Mork(19v) (Mork); Flat(204ra) (Flat); H(76r), Hr(54ra) (H-Hr)

Readings: [1] Hafðit: so Mork, Flat, H, Hr, Hafði Kˣ, F, E, J2ˣ, ‘Hafðeð’ FskAˣ;    bifðisk: bifðusk Hr    [2] ‑snart: ‑svart FskAˣ    [3] ‑þrimu: ‑þrumu FskAˣ;    hilmir: fylkir FskAˣ    [4] hlít‑: lið‑ FskAˣ;    fyr sér: ok þó Flat    [5] þars: ‘þas er’ Flat;    til: er Flat, því at Hr;    þengils: þarfar Mork, Flat, H, Hr;    hersa: herjar F    [6] herr at: ‘siatnade’ Hr;    herr: menn Mork, Flat, H    [7] ins: en Hr;    barra: bara Flat

Editions: Skj AI, 352, Skj BI, 324-5, Skald I, 164; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 209, ÍF 28, 189-90, Hkr 1991, 685 (HSig ch. 92), F 1871, 249, E 1916, 97; Fsk 1902-3, 292 (ch. 59), ÍF 29, 286-7 (ch. 69); Mork 1928-32, 277-8, Andersson and Gade 2000, 272, 481-2 (MH); Flat 1860-8, III, 395 (MH); Fms 6, 418 (HSig ch. 119), Fms 12, 165-6; Whaley 1998, 287-9.

Context: In Hkr and H-Hr, the Norwegians are deceived by the apparent flight of the English into breaking their shield-wall. Seeing what straits his men are in, Haraldr plunges into the thick of the fighting with such vigour that the English (in Hkr) are on the point of fleeing. In Fsk, Mork and Flat, the Engl. cavalry gain the upper hand by sheer force of numbers, so that the Norwegians break ranks.

Notes: [All]: The st. is attributed in Mork and Flat to Arnórr ‘in his poem’ (í sínu kvæði). — [1, 4] hafðit lítit brjóst fyr sér ‘had no small courage in himself’: Brjóst can mean ‘breast, chest’, hence figuratively ‘courage’ or ‘defence, defender(s)’, and fyr sér can mean ‘in front of him(self)’, or ‘in, of him(self)’ as in the phrase mikill/lítill fyrir sér ‘great/insignificant in himself’. These alternative senses combine with the alternative readings hafði and hafðit to yield several possible interpretations of this st., the most satisfactory of which are: (a) The reading adopted here (and so Jón Þorkelsson 1884, 41, and Skj B), with the suffix -t negating lítit. (b) Reading hafði: ‘He had little defence in front of him’ (so ÍF 28), implying that Haraldr was in the forefront of the fighting. — [4] hlítstyggr ‘shunning mediocrity’: This cpd adj. occurs in only one other context, Steinþ Frag l. 4III, where it is applied to Óðinn. Styggr ‘shy of, shunning’ is recorded in compounds with first elements meaning ‘delay’ (bilstyggr), ‘flight’ (flóttstyggr, flugstyggr) or ‘guile/harm’ (læstyggr, meinstyggr). The meaning of hlít- is more elusive. (a) Hlít f. ‘sufficiency’ and hlíta við ‘suffice, do’ suggest the meaning ‘shunning (mere) sufficiency, mediocrity’, i.e. ‘energetic, zealous’, adopted above for hlítstyggr, and this finds support in the adj. óhlítuligr ‘not trivial, great’ applied to the battle of Århus (Áróss) in Okík Magn 1/6. (b) The verb hlíta, governing the dat., can mean ‘rely on’. Hlítstyggr could therefore mean ‘shunning reliance (on others), relying solely on himself’, as in the adj. einhlítr, lit. ‘one-reliant, sole-relying’.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Andersson, Theodore M. and Kari Ellen Gade, trans. 2000. Morkinskinna: The Earliest Icelandic Chronicle of the Norwegian Kings (1030-1157). Islandica 51. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
  6. Whaley, Diana, ed. and trans. 1998. The Poetry of Arnórr jarlaskáld: An Edition and Study. Westfield Publications in Medieval Studies 8. Turnhout: Brepols.
  7. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  8. Mork 1928-32 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1928-32. Morkinskinna. SUGNL 53. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  9. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  10. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  11. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  12. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  13. Fsk 1902-3 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1902-3. Fagrskinna: Nóregs kononga tal. SUGNL 30. Copenhagen: Møller.
  14. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  15. Jón Þorkelsson [J. Thorkelsson]. 1884. ‘Bemærkninger til nogle steder i versene i Heimskringla’. Aftryk af oversigt over det kgl. danske videnskabs selskabs forhandlinger 1884. Copenhagen: Luno.
  16. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  17. Internal references
  18. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Hulda and Hrokkinskinna (H-Hr)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  22. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Morkinskinna (Mork)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  23. Not published: do not cite (HSigII)
  24. Not published: do not cite (MHII)
  25. R. D. Fulk 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Steinþórr, Fragment’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 390.
  26. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Oddr kíkinaskáld, Poem about Magnús góði 1’ 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, p. 32.
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