Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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HSt Rst 29I

Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 29’ 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. 930.


Dáðstyrk dýrðar merki
dolgminnigs skalk inna
skýbjóðs skelfihríðar
Skǫglar borðs in fjorðu.
Harðleygs hrinda frôgum
hvatlyndum Þorkatli
styrlund* stirðra branda
storms fyr borð af Ormi.

Skalk inna in fjorðu dáðstyrk merki dýrðar {dolgminnigs {{{Skǫglar borðs} skelfihríðar} ský}bjóðs}. Frôgum {{{{stirðra branda storms} harðleygs} styr}lund*} hrinda hvatlyndum Þorkatli fyr borð af Ormi.

I will present the fourth deed-strong sign of glory {of the strife-mindful offerer {of the cloud {of the terrifying storm {of the board of Skǫgul <valkyrie>}}}} [(lit. ‘cloud-offerer of the terrifying storm of the board of Skǫgul’) SHIELD > BATTLE > SHIELD > WARRIOR]. We [I] have heard that {the tree {of the tumult {of the hard flame {of the storm of rigid blades}}}} [(lit. ‘tumult-tree of the hard flame of the storm of rigid blades’) BATTLE > SWORD > BATTLE > WARRIOR] threw the bold-minded Þorkell overboard from Ormr (‘the Serpent’).

Mss: Bb(112rb); 61(64rb), 53(61vb), 54(59ra), Bb(94vb), Flat(62rb) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] Dáðstyrk: so 61, 53, 54, Flat, dreyrserks Bb(112rb), ‘daðstvrk’ Bb(94vb)    [2] dolg‑: so all others, dáð‑ Bb(112rb);    ‑minnigs: ‑mennings 54, Bb(94vb), ‘‑mennis’ Flat;    skalk: fetk all others    [3] skelfi‑: skjalfa 53, skelfur Flat;    ‑hríðar: so all others, ‘ridar’ Bb(112rb)    [5] Harðleygs hrinda frôgum: hart skyndir nam hrinda 61, 53, 54, Bb(94vb), hoddskyndi frá hrinda Flat    [6] ‑lyndum: skyndum 54, lyndr Flat    [7] styrlund*: styrlundr all;    stirðra: so 61, 53, ‘stidra’ Bb(112rb), stríðra 54, Bb(94vb), Flat    [8] storms: storm 53;    af: á 61, 53, Bb(94vb)

Editions: Skj AI, 550-1, Skj BI, 532, Skald I, 259, NN §§1181, 3239; ÓT 1958-2000, II, 232-3 (ch. 238), Flat 1860-8, I, 466; SHI 3, 262-5, CPB II, 299, Wisén 1886-9, I, 49, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 164, Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 274-6.

Context: One of Óláfr’s retainers, Þorkell dyðrill ‘Cloak’, is curious about the king’s whereabouts, as he leaves the ship every night. As a good-natured punishment Óláfr throws him overboard but drags him immediately back on board.

Notes: [All]: The tale about Óláfr and Þorkell dyðrill is narrated in Anon Ól as well as in ÓT 1958-2000, II, 231-6 and ÓTOdd (ÍF 25, 267-70); see Introduction to Anon Ól for a summary. — [All]: Each helmingr contains an extended warrior-kenning which duplicates a referent (‘shield’ in the first and ‘battle’ in the second). — [1, 2] dáðstyrk ... dolgminnigs ‘deed-strong ... strife-mindful’: (a) The ÓT reading adj. dáðstyrk ‘deed-strong’ in l. 1 qualifies merki ‘sign(s)’, and styrk : merki produce a regular skothending. The ÓT reading adj. dolgminnigs ‘strife-mindful’ in l. 2 qualifies the warrior-kenning. (b) The readings of the continuous Bb text, dreyrserks ‘of the blood-shirt, mail-shirt’ and dáðminnigs ‘deed-mindful’, could possibly make sense if taken together as ‘deed-mindful of the blood-shirt’, i.e. intent on great deeds in battle, with ‘mail-shirt’ as a metonym for battle. However, this is stylistically improbable. The reading ‑serks produces an aðalhending on merki, which is less regular in an odd line, though also possible. — [1, 4] in fjorðu merki ‘the fourth sign’: In st. 25 we hear of Óláfr performing two feats simultaneously, and in sts 26-8 of how he saved a man. These are possibly counted by the skald as three signs or miracles, to which a fourth is now added. The phrase is grammatically pl. — [2] skalk ‘I will’: The ÓT reading, preferred in Skj B and Skald, is fetk ‘I make my way, manage’, which can also function as an auxiliary verb. — [5-8]: There are significant divergences between the versions of the second helmingr (cf. Readings), though the meaning they produce is roughly the same. Finnur Jónsson in Skj B (followed in essentials in Skald) construes the ÓT version as follows: stórlyndr skunduðr [ms. skyndir] storms stirðra branda nam hrinda hart hvatlyndum Þórkatli fyr borð af Ormi ‘the noble hastener of the storm of rigid blades [BATTLE > WARRIOR] sharply threw the quick-minded Þorkell overboard from Ormr’. As in the first helmingr, the kenning structure is simpler because ÓT has an adj., here stórlyndr ‘noble, great-minded’, where Bb(112rb) has a noun cpd (styrlundr, l. 7; see Note). — [6] Þorkatli ‘Þorkell’: See Context and Note to [All] above. — [7] styrlund* ‘the tree of the tumult (lit. ‘tumult-tree’)’: This edn follows Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) in emending the Bb(112rb) reading styrlundr to the acc. sg. form -lund which is necessary to produce an inf. with acc. construction with (frôgum) hrinda, lit. ‘(we [I] have heard) to throw’. — [8] Ormi ‘Ormr (“the Serpent”)’: See Note to st. 18/2.


  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. 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.
  6. Wisén, Theodor, ed. 1886-9. Carmina Norrœnæ: Ex reliquiis vetustioris norrœnæ poësis selecta, recognita, commentariis et glossario instructa. 2 vols. Lund: Ohlsson.
  7. Finnur Jónsson. 1893b. Carmina Norrœna: Rettet Tekst. Copenhagen: Nielsen & Lydiche.
  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. Konráð Gíslason. 1895-7. Efterladte skrifter. 2 vols. I: Forelæsninger over oldnordiske skjaldekvad. II: Forelæsninger og videnskablige afhandlinger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  10. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  11. 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.
  12. ÍF 25 = Færeyinga saga; Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar eptir Odd munk Snorrason. Ed. Ólafur Halldórsson. 2006.
  13. Internal references
  14. 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.
  15. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar by Oddr Snorrason (ÓTOdd)’ 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. clxxiv-clxxv.
  16. Kate Heslop 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Poem about Óláfr Tryggvason’ 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. 1061.

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