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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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HSt Rst 23I

Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 23’ 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. 924.

Hallar-SteinnRekstefja
222324

seint ‘late’

seinn (adj.; °seinan; compar. seinni, superl. seinstr/seinastr): slow, late

[3] seint mun: sýnt nam 61, 53, Flat

notes

[3] seint mun ‘late will’: I.e. it takes a long time for Óláfr’s enemy to clear his ship. The ÓT reading sýnt nam is logical, giving síðan Drekinn langi nam sýnt eyðask ‘once Drekinn langi (“the Long Serpent”) visibly began to be cleared’. The use of pres. tense (historic pres.) in the Bb(112ra) reading mun ‘will’, by contrast, is striking: it is rare or unparalleled in the narrative of Rst and rare in skaldic poetry generally. The usage is reminiscent of mun in a somewhat similar context involving Ormr in Hfr ErfÓl 10/5, and in reference to Óláfr’s uncertain fate in ErfÓl 18/6, and it may be due to the general influence of that poem (see Introduction). Whatever the case, the effect of retaining mun in Rst, which does not depict the death of Óláfr, and only obliquely refers to his defeat (st. 22/5-7), is to leave a lasting image of a heroic, unvanquished defence, and it is possible that this was the intention.

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mun ‘will’

munu (verb): will, must

[3] seint mun: sýnt nam 61, 53, Flat

notes

[3] seint mun ‘late will’: I.e. it takes a long time for Óláfr’s enemy to clear his ship. The ÓT reading sýnt nam is logical, giving síðan Drekinn langi nam sýnt eyðask ‘once Drekinn langi (“the Long Serpent”) visibly began to be cleared’. The use of pres. tense (historic pres.) in the Bb(112ra) reading mun ‘will’, by contrast, is striking: it is rare or unparalleled in the narrative of Rst and rare in skaldic poetry generally. The usage is reminiscent of mun in a somewhat similar context involving Ormr in Hfr ErfÓl 10/5, and in reference to Óláfr’s uncertain fate in ErfÓl 18/6, and it may be due to the general influence of that poem (see Introduction). Whatever the case, the effect of retaining mun in Rst, which does not depict the death of Óláfr, and only obliquely refers to his defeat (st. 22/5-7), is to leave a lasting image of a heroic, unvanquished defence, and it is possible that this was the intention.

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Drekinn ‘Drekinn’

dreki (noun m.; °-a; -ar): dragon, dragon-ship

[4] Drekinn: so 61, Flat, Ormr inn Bb(112ra), 53, 54, ‘o⸜r⸝nnr hin’ Bb(101vb)

notes

[4] Drekinn langi ‘Drekinn langi (“the Long Serpent”)’: Dreki ‘serpent, dragon’, is a play on the ship-name Ormr inn langi (cf. the use of Linni ‘Serpent’, st. 18/2 and Note). This variant is attested in mss 61 and Flat, representing two classes of the ÓT stemma. The other mss read Ormr, but this would be the lectio facilior, and the line would be metrically irregular since, although it would fit Sievers’ Type A2l (Sievers 1893, 103), the rhyme in such lines does not fall on the secondarily stressed syllable, as it does here (-strangr : langi).

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langi ‘langi (‘the Long Serpent’)’

langr (adj.; °compar. lengri, superl. lengstr): long

notes

[4] Drekinn langi ‘Drekinn langi (“the Long Serpent”)’: Dreki ‘serpent, dragon’, is a play on the ship-name Ormr inn langi (cf. the use of Linni ‘Serpent’, st. 18/2 and Note). This variant is attested in mss 61 and Flat, representing two classes of the ÓT stemma. The other mss read Ormr, but this would be the lectio facilior, and the line would be metrically irregular since, although it would fit Sievers’ Type A2l (Sievers 1893, 103), the rhyme in such lines does not fall on the secondarily stressed syllable, as it does here (-strangr : langi).

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Unn ‘of wave’

2. unnr (noun f.): wave < unneldr (noun m.)

kennings

yppirunnum unnelds
‘the lifting trees of wave-fire ’
   = MEN

wave-fire → GOLD
the lifting trees of the GOLD → MEN
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Unn ‘of wave’

2. unnr (noun f.): wave < unneldr (noun m.)

kennings

yppirunnum unnelds
‘the lifting trees of wave-fire ’
   = MEN

wave-fire → GOLD
the lifting trees of the GOLD → MEN
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elds ‘fire’

eldr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-(HómÍsl¹‰(1993) 24v²⁴); -ar): fire < unneldr (noun m.)

kennings

yppirunnum unnelds
‘the lifting trees of wave-fire ’
   = MEN

wave-fire → GOLD
the lifting trees of the GOLD → MEN
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elds ‘fire’

eldr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-(HómÍsl¹‰(1993) 24v²⁴); -ar): fire < unneldr (noun m.)

kennings

yppirunnum unnelds
‘the lifting trees of wave-fire ’
   = MEN

wave-fire → GOLD
the lifting trees of the GOLD → MEN
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yppi ‘the lifting’

yppa (verb): extol, lift up < yppirunnr (noun m.)

kennings

yppirunnum unnelds
‘the lifting trees of wave-fire ’
   = MEN

wave-fire → GOLD
the lifting trees of the GOLD → MEN
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runnum ‘trees’

runnr (noun m.; °dat. -i/-; -ar): bush, tree < yppirunnr (noun m.)

kennings

yppirunnum unnelds
‘the lifting trees of wave-fire ’
   = MEN

wave-fire → GOLD
the lifting trees of the GOLD → MEN
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* ‘’

(non-lexical)

[6] *: svá Bb(112ra)

notes

[6] *: Svá ‘thus, so’ in the ms. produces a supernumerary syllable, which is omitted here, as also in Skj B and Skald.

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lengi ‘for a long time’

lengi (adv.): for a long time

notes

[6] lengi ‘for a long time’: The ms. reading is retained here although it does not make ideal sense. The context would suggest ‘anything further’, i.e. nothing more is known, and this seems to be the understanding of Finnur Jónsson (Skj B), who emends to (en) lengri and translates udover dette ‘beyond this’; but if this is the sense one would expect either the adv. lengr ‘longer’ (in time) or the n. comp. adj. lengra ‘(something) longer’, while lengri would be the comp. adj. ‘longer’ agreeing with f. acc. sg. hegju ‘condition, life’, hence perhaps ‘No-one can tell a still longer [story of] the life of …’.

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heg*ju ‘the condition’

hegja (noun f.): [condition, events]

[7] heg*ju: heggju Bb(112ra)

notes

[7] seg*ja ... heg*ju hilmis ‘tell ... about the condition of the ruler’: The ms. reads heggju hilmis seggja, which does not make sense and fails to provide an inf. to complete the construction with the auxiliary kann ‘can, know how to’. This edn follows previous eds in emending to hegju ‘life, condition’ or ‘events’ (as in Arn Þorfdr 19/4II) and segja ‘tell’.

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hilmis ‘of the ruler’

hilmir (noun m.): prince, protector

notes

[7] seg*ja ... heg*ju hilmis ‘tell ... about the condition of the ruler’: The ms. reads heggju hilmis seggja, which does not make sense and fails to provide an inf. to complete the construction with the auxiliary kann ‘can, know how to’. This edn follows previous eds in emending to hegju ‘life, condition’ or ‘events’ (as in Arn Þorfdr 19/4II) and segja ‘tell’.

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seg*ja ‘tell’

segja (verb): say, tell

[7] seg*ja: seggja Bb(112ra)

notes

[7] seg*ja ... heg*ju hilmis ‘tell ... about the condition of the ruler’: The ms. reads heggju hilmis seggja, which does not make sense and fails to provide an inf. to complete the construction with the auxiliary kann ‘can, know how to’. This edn follows previous eds in emending to hegju ‘life, condition’ or ‘events’ (as in Arn Þorfdr 19/4II) and segja ‘tell’.

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Hollr ‘Faithful’

hollr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): loyal

[8] Hollr ok fremstr at ǫllu: abbrev. as ‘hol(lr) ok f[…]o’ (?) Bb(112ra)

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ok ‘and’

3. ok (conj.): and, but; also

[8] Hollr ok fremstr at ǫllu: abbrev. as ‘hol(lr) ok f[…]o’ (?) Bb(112ra)

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fremstr ‘foremost’

framr (adj.; °compar. framari/fremri, superl. framastr/fremstr): outstanding, foremost

[8] Hollr ok fremstr at ǫllu: abbrev. as ‘hol(lr) ok f[…]o’ (?) Bb(112ra)

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at ‘in’

3. at (prep.): at, to

[8] Hollr ok fremstr at ǫllu: abbrev. as ‘hol(lr) ok f[…]o’ (?) Bb(112ra)

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ǫllu ‘all things’

allr (adj.): all

[8] Hollr ok fremstr at ǫllu: abbrev. as ‘hol(lr) ok f[…]o’ (?) Bb(112ra)

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

Only the first helmingr is in ÓT, and it follows a description of the battle that now rages on Ormr inn langi, with Óláfr hurling spears from the raised deck. 

[8]: This is the final appearance of the split refrain, on which see Note to st. 9/8. The line is abbreviated in the ms., but the full version is supplied from st. 11/8.

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