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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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HSt Rst 13I

Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 13’ 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. 911.

Hallar-SteinnRekstefja
121314

Húns nótt hverja knôttu
hirðmenn konungs spenna
gylld horn grœðis meldrar;
glaðr vísi drakk þaðra.
Víðfrægr velja téði
vín húskǫrlum sínum
allvaldr einkar mildum.
Óláfr und veg sólar.

{Hverja nótt húns} knôttu hirðmenn konungs spenna gylld horn {grœðis meldrar}; glaðr vísi drakk þaðra. Víðfrægr allvaldr téði velja einkar mildum vín húskǫrlum sínum. Óláfr und {veg sólar} …

{Every bear’s night} [WINTER] the king’s retainers gripped the gilded horns {of the ocean of flour} [ALE]; the cheerful ruler drank there. The widely famous sovereign provided wine exceptionally generously for his housecarls. Óláfr under {the path of the sun} [SKY] …

Mss: Bb(111vb); 61(62rb), 53(60rb), 54(56rb), Bb(91vb), Flat(60vb) (ÓT)

Readings: [2] konungs: jǫfurs 53;    spenna: at spenna 54, Bb(91vb)    [4] vísi: so 61, ‘vis(v)’(?) Bb(111vb), vísir 53, 54, Bb(91vb), Flat    [5] Víðfrægr: om. Bb(91vb)    [6] húskǫrlum: hirðmǫnnum all others

Editions: Skj AI, 546, Skj BI, 528, Skald I, 257, NN §§1175-6; ÓT 1958-2000, II, 213-14 (ch. 234), Flat 1860-8, I, 456; SHI 3, 252-3, CPB II, 297, Wisén 1886-9, I, 47, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 164, Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 230-4.

Context: The stanza illustrates how the king spent his winters in generous and convivial drinking with his men.

Notes: [All]: Similar praise of a ruler for generously providing for his men throughout the winter is found in Arn Þorfdr 2II, which also contains kennings for ‘winter’ and ‘ale’. — [1, 2] knôttu ... spenna ‘gripped’: Lit. ‘were able to grip’. — [3] grœðis meldrar ‘of the ocean of flour [ALE]’: Meldr ‘flour’ functions like the reference to malt or grain that is more usual in ale-kennings (cf. Konráð Gíslason 1895-7; Meissner 433). Finnur Jónsson (LP: grœðir, meldr 2) sees meldr here as a synonym for the magic mill Grotti or Grótti which rests on the sea-bed and produces gold (see Grott). However, as Kock points out in NN §1175 it is difficult to see what meaning that could have; a gold-kenning would be out of place. — [5] téði velja ‘provided’: Téði (inf. tjá ‘show, report’) has a purely auxiliary function here. Velja, most often ‘choose’, has the sense ‘provide’ here; cf. st. 8/7. — [6] húskǫrlum sínum ‘for his housecarls’: The king’s elite retainers or bodyguard. See Note to Okík Magn 2/6II. Here the ÓT mss have hirðmǫnnum ‘retainers’, which awkwardly repeats hirðmenn in l. 2. — [7] mildum ‘generously’: (a) Kock (NN §1176) seems to be correct in taking this as an adverbial dat. Adverbial use of an adj. in the dat. pl. is possible, though restricted (see NS §110 Anm. 2 for examples such as stórum ‘greatly’, bráðum ‘hastily, soon’), and the sense could be ‘by generous (acts)’. (b) In terms of grammar, the most obvious solution is to take (einkar) mildum ‘(exceptionally) generous’ as an adj. qualifying húskǫrlum ‘retainers’ (so Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, followed by Skj B), but it seems unlikely that the housecarls, rather than the sovereign, are praised in this way. — [8]: For this line of the refrain, see Note to st. 9/8.

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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  6. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. CPB = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and F. York Powell, eds. 1883. Corpus poeticum boreale: The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1965, New York: Russell & Russell.
  8. Wisén, Theodor, ed. 1886-9. Carmina Norrœnæ: Ex reliquiis vetustioris norrœnæ poësis selecta, recognita, commentariis et glossario instructa. 2 vols. Lund: Ohlsson.
  9. Finnur Jónsson. 1893b. Carmina Norrœna: Rettet Tekst. Copenhagen: Nielsen & Lydiche.
  10. 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.
  11. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.
  12. Konráð Gíslason. 1895-7. Efterladte skrifter. 2 vols. I: Forelæsninger over oldnordiske skjaldekvad. II: Forelæsninger og videnskablige afhandlinger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  13. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  14. SHI = Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1828-46. Scripta historica islandorum de rebus gestis veterum borealium, latine reddita et apparatu critico instructa, curante Societate regia antiquariorum septentrionalium. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp etc. and London: John & Arthur Arch.
  15. Internal references
  16. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Greatest Saga of Óláfr Tryggvason / Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar in mesta (ÓT)’ 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. clxiii-clxvi.
  17. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Þorfinnsdrápa 2’ 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. 232.
  18. Not published: do not cite ()
  19. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Oddr kíkinaskáld, Poem about Magnús góði 2’ 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. 33.
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