Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.



Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Arn Hardr 15II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Haraldsdrápa 15’ 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. 276-8.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonHaraldsdrápa

Myrkts, hverr meira orkar,
mér, alls greppr né sérat,
— harðrs í heimi orðinn
hrafngrennir — þrek jǫfnum.
Ert gat óslætt hjarta
(eljunfims) und himni
mest (hefr mildingr kostat
minni hvers grams vinnur).

Myrkts mér, alls greppr né sérat, hverr orkar meira, jǫfnum þrek; {harðr hrafngrennir} [e]s orðinn í heimi. Gat mest ert, óslætt hjarta und himni; mildingr hefr kostat minni vinnur hvers eljunfims grams.

It is dark to me, for the poet does not see it, who will achieve more, equal feats of strength; {the harsh raven-feeder} [WARRIOR] has departed this world. He was endowed with the boldest, keenest heart under heaven; the gracious one has put to the test the lesser deeds of every mettlesome lord.

Mss: Mork(19v) (Mork); Flat(204rb) (Flat); H(76v), Hr(54va) (H-Hr)

Readings: [2] sérat: ‘sæi at’ Flat    [3] harðrs í heimi (‘harþr er iheimi’): ‘hardr vr heim’ Hr;    heimi: ‘hemí’ Flat    [4] þrek jǫfnum: þræls jafnan Flat    [5] Ert: ‘aurtt’ Flat;    óslætt (‘vslett’): óskelfr Flat, ósljótt H, Hr    [6] eljun‑: ‘æ sin‑’ Flat;    und: við Flat    [7] kostat: kostut Mork, Hr, kǫstuð Flat, kostuð H    [8] grams vinnur: gramr vinnr Hr

Editions: Skj AI, 353, Skj BI, 325, Skald I, 164, NN §§840, 841, 1934A; Mork 1928-32, 281, Andersson and Gade 2000, 274, 482 (MH); Flat 1860-8, III, 397 (MH); Fms 6, 422-3 (HSig ch. 119), Fms 12, 166; Whaley 1998, 295-7.

Context: As for st. 14. H-Hr prefaces the st. with a paraphrase amounting to, ‘Arnórr declares himself unsure whether any king under the sun will have fought with such pride and courage as King Haraldr’.

Notes: [2] ‘not’: as the negative particle (distinct from the conj. ‘nor, and not’) is well attested in ON poetry composed in ljóðaháttr or based on Goth. or Ger. heroic subject matter, but extremely rare in dróttkvætt composition before 1200. Engl. or Anglo-Dan. influence has been suspected here and in Ótt Knútdr 11I (Kuhn 1936, 432-3; Hofmann 1955, 78, 104-5). — [3] [e]s orðinn í heimi ‘has departed this world’: (a) The sense is clearly that Haraldr has died, but [e]s orðinn could either mean ‘has died’, or else ‘is lost by death’, cf. Hfr ErfÓl 26/1, 4I hefk orðinn goðfǫður ‘I have lost [my] godfather’ (and see Dronke 1969, 121, note to Am 21/4). Kock (NN §1934A) sees the utterance as a reprise of the description of Haraldr’s fall in battle (sts 11-13), and Andersson and Gade (2000, 274) translate ‘has fallen in this world’. (b) Harðrs í heimi orðinn hrafngrennir, if taken in its more straightforward sense, ‘the raven-feeder has become harsh in the world’, would appear a strange statement to make of one already dead, but it is not impossible, in view of the use of the perfect tense in ll. 7-8. (c) Skj B reads ór heimi ‘from the world’, but this is only the reading of the generally unreliable Hr. — [4] jǫfnum þrek ‘equal feats of strength’: (a) The phrase is taken here as dat. object to orkar ‘achieves’, standing in apposition to meira. (b) The alternative, adopted in Skj B, of construing þrek jǫfnum as an adverbial phrase, yields poor sense: ‘who will achieve more with strength equal to his’. — [5, 7] mest ert ‘the boldest’: Lit. ‘the most bold’. (a) The superlative mest is here construed with ert, óslætt in l. 5, hence ‘boldest, keenest’. This is a rare construction, but not unparalleled: cf. NS §64 and Skí 27/5 (NK 74), where meirr leiðr performs the function of the comparative form leiðari ‘more hateful’. On the form ert, see Note to Arn Magndr 18/7. (b) Mest could alternatively well qualify hefr kostat ‘has put to the test’ (l. 7), hence ‘the gracious one has tested to the utmost the lesser deeds of every mettlesome lord’. But the first sentence, ‘he was endowed with a bold, keen heart under heaven’, would then be rather tepid praise, since such statements normally contain superlatives (cf. Fidjestøl, 1982, 190-3 on the ‘highest under heaven’ motif). — [7, 8] hefr kostat minni vinnur ‘has put to the test the lesser deeds’: (a) Although kosta ‘try, put to the test’ normally takes a gen. object, it can also take the acc. (NS §131 b. Anm.). This construal follows that of Kock (NN §841), though his translation amounts to ‘(the prince) has for the most part found (every lord’s) deeds to be the less’. Emendation of ms. ‘costot, kostvð’ to normalised kostat ‘tried, put to the test’, a n. sg. p. p. to accompany the auxiliary hefr ‘has’ seems unavoidable. (b) Finnur Jónsson’s analysis in Skj B is unacceptable since it involves two alterations of the text, assumes an otherwise unrecorded noun kostuðr, and splits l. 7 into four segments.


  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. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. 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.
  7. Whaley, Diana, ed. and trans. 1998. The Poetry of Arnórr jarlaskáld: An Edition and Study. Westfield Publications in Medieval Studies 8. Turnhout: Brepols.
  8. 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.
  9. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  10. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.
  11. Mork 1928-32 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1928-32. Morkinskinna. SUGNL 53. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  12. Dronke, Ursula, ed. and trans. 1969. The Poetic Edda. I: Heroic Poems. Oxford: Clarendon.
  13. Kuhn, Hans (1899). 1936a. ‘Die Negation des Verbs im Altnordischen’. BGDSL 60, 431-44. Rpt. in Kuhn (1899) 1969-78, I, 124-34.
  14. Hofmann, Dietrich. 1955. Nordisch-englische Lehnbeziehungen der Wikingerzeit. BA 14. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  15. Internal references
  16. 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].
  17. Not published: do not cite (HSigII)
  18. Not published: do not cite (MHII)
  19. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Magnússdrápa 18’ 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. 227-8.
  20. Not published: do not cite ()
  21. Not published: do not cite ()
  22. Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 2’ 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. 404.
  23. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 11’ 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. 781.

Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.


Stanza/chapter/text segment

Use the buttons at the top of the page to navigate between stanzas in a poem.

Information tab

Interactive tab

The text and translation are given here, with buttons to toggle whether the text is shown in the verse order or prose word order. Clicking on indiviudal words gives dictionary links, variant readings, kennings and notes, where relevant.

Full text tab

This is the text of the edition in a similar format to how the edition appears in the printed volumes.

Chapter/text segment

This view is also used for chapters and other text segments. Not all the headings shown are relevant to such sections.