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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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HSt Rst 31I

Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 31’ 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. 933.

Hallar-SteinnRekstefja
303132

Ǫr ‘The arrow’

ǫr (noun f.; °dat. -/-u; ǫrvar/ǫrar): arrow < ǫrrjóðr (noun m.)

[1] Ǫr‑: so all others, Ót‑ Bb(112rb)

kennings

Ǫrrjóðr
‘The arrow-reddener ’
   = WARRIOR = Óláfr

The arrow-reddener → WARRIOR = Óláfr

notes

[1] ǫrrjóðr ‘the arrow-reddener [WARRIOR = Óláfr]’: The ÓT reading, also preferred by Kock (Skald; NN §3122). Finnur Jónsson in Skj B prefers ‘Ót riodr’ from Bb(112rb) and emends to ótrauðr ‘not reluctant’, hence Ótrauðr allra dáða vann bjartar dýrðar jartegnir í et fimta sinn; magnak dimt dvergregn ‘[He who was] not reluctant for all deeds performed bright miracles of honour on a fifth occasion. I compose the dark dwarf-rain [POETRY]’. 

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rjóðr ‘reddener’

1. rjóðr (noun m.): reddener < ǫrrjóðr (noun m.)

[1] ‑rjóðr: ‑rjóð 54

kennings

Ǫrrjóðr
‘The arrow-reddener ’
   = WARRIOR = Óláfr

The arrow-reddener → WARRIOR = Óláfr

notes

[1] ǫrrjóðr ‘the arrow-reddener [WARRIOR = Óláfr]’: The ÓT reading, also preferred by Kock (Skald; NN §3122). Finnur Jónsson in Skj B prefers ‘Ót riodr’ from Bb(112rb) and emends to ótrauðr ‘not reluctant’, hence Ótrauðr allra dáða vann bjartar dýrðar jartegnir í et fimta sinn; magnak dimt dvergregn ‘[He who was] not reluctant for all deeds performed bright miracles of honour on a fifth occasion. I compose the dark dwarf-rain [POETRY]’. 

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allra ‘of all’

allr (adj.): all

notes

[1-2] vann bjartar jartegnir allra dáða ‘performed bright proofs of all [his] deeds’: This fifth wonder does not involve action on King Óláfr’s part, but simply the power of his presence, as angels and heavenly light surround him as signs of his holiness. The ÓT reading gat ‘gained’ in place of vann ‘performed’ is also possible, and the sense of jartegnir seems to be ‘proofs, signs’ rather than ‘miracles’ in either case.

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dáða ‘deeds’

dáð (noun f.; °; -ir): feat, deed

notes

[1-2] vann bjartar jartegnir allra dáða ‘performed bright proofs of all [his] deeds’: This fifth wonder does not involve action on King Óláfr’s part, but simply the power of his presence, as angels and heavenly light surround him as signs of his holiness. The ÓT reading gat ‘gained’ in place of vann ‘performed’ is also possible, and the sense of jartegnir seems to be ‘proofs, signs’ rather than ‘miracles’ in either case.

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jartegnir ‘proofs’

(non-lexical)

[2] jartegnir: jarteinar 54, Bb(95rb)

notes

[1-2] vann bjartar jartegnir allra dáða ‘performed bright proofs of all [his] deeds’: This fifth wonder does not involve action on King Óláfr’s part, but simply the power of his presence, as angels and heavenly light surround him as signs of his holiness. The ÓT reading gat ‘gained’ in place of vann ‘performed’ is also possible, and the sense of jartegnir seems to be ‘proofs, signs’ rather than ‘miracles’ in either case.

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vann ‘performed’

2. vinna (verb): perform, work

[2] vann: gat 61, 54, Bb(95rb), gaf Flat

notes

[1-2] vann bjartar jartegnir allra dáða ‘performed bright proofs of all [his] deeds’: This fifth wonder does not involve action on King Óláfr’s part, but simply the power of his presence, as angels and heavenly light surround him as signs of his holiness. The ÓT reading gat ‘gained’ in place of vann ‘performed’ is also possible, and the sense of jartegnir seems to be ‘proofs, signs’ rather than ‘miracles’ in either case.

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bjartar ‘bright’

bjartr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): bright

notes

[1-2] vann bjartar jartegnir allra dáða ‘performed bright proofs of all [his] deeds’: This fifth wonder does not involve action on King Óláfr’s part, but simply the power of his presence, as angels and heavenly light surround him as signs of his holiness. The ÓT reading gat ‘gained’ in place of vann ‘performed’ is also possible, and the sense of jartegnir seems to be ‘proofs, signs’ rather than ‘miracles’ in either case.

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dverg ‘dwarf’

dvergr (noun m.; °-s; -ar): dwarf < dvergregn (noun n.)

[3] dverg‑: dygg Flat

kennings

dimmt dvergregn*
‘the dark dwarf-rain ’
   = POETRY

the dark dwarf-rain → POETRY

notes

[3, 4] dimmt dvergregn* dýrðar ‘the dark dwarf-rain [POETRY] of glory’: A reference to the myth of the mead of poetry (cf. Note to st. 8/3). Emendation of the mss’ regns to regn ‘rain’ is necessary to provide the object to megnum ‘we [I] strengthen’, and to match dimmt (n. acc. sg.) ‘dark’. The ÓT reading dýrðar ‘of glory’ is adopted in preference to Bb(112rb)’s dreyra ‘blood’ since ‘dark rain of the dwarf-blood’ is not a well-formed kenning, and since the blood in the myth comes from Kvasir rather than a dwarf (SnE 1998, I, 3; cf. SnE 2005, 48). Consequentially dyggðar ‘for virtue’ is preferred to a repeat of dýrðar in l. 8. The adj. dimmt ‘dark’ has been variously interpreted, including as an allusion to the obscurity of skaldic poetry (Skj B), or as Hallar-Steinn’s modest reference to the lacklustre nature of his poem compared with the king’s glorious deeds (NN §1185; de Vries 1964-7, II, 42).

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regn* ‘rain’

regn (noun n.; °-s; -): rain < dvergregn (noun n.)

[3] ‑regn*: regns all

kennings

dimmt dvergregn*
‘the dark dwarf-rain ’
   = POETRY

the dark dwarf-rain → POETRY

notes

[3, 4] dimmt dvergregn* dýrðar ‘the dark dwarf-rain [POETRY] of glory’: A reference to the myth of the mead of poetry (cf. Note to st. 8/3). Emendation of the mss’ regns to regn ‘rain’ is necessary to provide the object to megnum ‘we [I] strengthen’, and to match dimmt (n. acc. sg.) ‘dark’. The ÓT reading dýrðar ‘of glory’ is adopted in preference to Bb(112rb)’s dreyra ‘blood’ since ‘dark rain of the dwarf-blood’ is not a well-formed kenning, and since the blood in the myth comes from Kvasir rather than a dwarf (SnE 1998, I, 3; cf. SnE 2005, 48). Consequentially dyggðar ‘for virtue’ is preferred to a repeat of dýrðar in l. 8. The adj. dimmt ‘dark’ has been variously interpreted, including as an allusion to the obscurity of skaldic poetry (Skj B), or as Hallar-Steinn’s modest reference to the lacklustre nature of his poem compared with the king’s glorious deeds (NN §1185; de Vries 1964-7, II, 42).

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dýrðar ‘of glory’

dýrð (noun f.; °-ar/-a(NoDipl(1279) 44²ˆ); -ir): glory

[3] dýrðar: so all others, dreyra Bb(112rb)

notes

[3, 4] dimmt dvergregn* dýrðar ‘the dark dwarf-rain [POETRY] of glory’: A reference to the myth of the mead of poetry (cf. Note to st. 8/3). Emendation of the mss’ regns to regn ‘rain’ is necessary to provide the object to megnum ‘we [I] strengthen’, and to match dimmt (n. acc. sg.) ‘dark’. The ÓT reading dýrðar ‘of glory’ is adopted in preference to Bb(112rb)’s dreyra ‘blood’ since ‘dark rain of the dwarf-blood’ is not a well-formed kenning, and since the blood in the myth comes from Kvasir rather than a dwarf (SnE 1998, I, 3; cf. SnE 2005, 48). Consequentially dyggðar ‘for virtue’ is preferred to a repeat of dýrðar in l. 8. The adj. dimmt ‘dark’ has been variously interpreted, including as an allusion to the obscurity of skaldic poetry (Skj B), or as Hallar-Steinn’s modest reference to the lacklustre nature of his poem compared with the king’s glorious deeds (NN §1185; de Vries 1964-7, II, 42).

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megnum ‘we [I] strengthen’

megna (verb): strengthen

[3] megnum: magnat 61, 54, Bb(95rb), mǫgnuð Flat

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dimmt ‘the dark’

dimmr (adj.; °superl. -astr): dark

kennings

dimmt dvergregn*
‘the dark dwarf-rain ’
   = POETRY

the dark dwarf-rain → POETRY

notes

[3, 4] dimmt dvergregn* dýrðar ‘the dark dwarf-rain [POETRY] of glory’: A reference to the myth of the mead of poetry (cf. Note to st. 8/3). Emendation of the mss’ regns to regn ‘rain’ is necessary to provide the object to megnum ‘we [I] strengthen’, and to match dimmt (n. acc. sg.) ‘dark’. The ÓT reading dýrðar ‘of glory’ is adopted in preference to Bb(112rb)’s dreyra ‘blood’ since ‘dark rain of the dwarf-blood’ is not a well-formed kenning, and since the blood in the myth comes from Kvasir rather than a dwarf (SnE 1998, I, 3; cf. SnE 2005, 48). Consequentially dyggðar ‘for virtue’ is preferred to a repeat of dýrðar in l. 8. The adj. dimmt ‘dark’ has been variously interpreted, including as an allusion to the obscurity of skaldic poetry (Skj B), or as Hallar-Steinn’s modest reference to the lacklustre nature of his poem compared with the king’s glorious deeds (NN §1185; de Vries 1964-7, II, 42).

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Sigrgjarn ‘The victory-willing’

sigrgjarn (adj.): [victory-willing]

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fegri ‘more beautifully’

fagr (adj.; °fagran; compar. fegri, superl. fegrstr): fair, beautiful

[5] fegri: so all others, vænni Bb(112rb)

notes

[5] fegri ‘more beautifully’: Lit. ‘more beautiful’. The ÓT reading is here preferred to vænni ‘more beautiful’ since it provides skothending on sigr-.

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sénn ‘seen’

2. sjá (verb): see

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skrýddr ‘arrayed’

2. skrýða (verb): adorn, clothe

[6] skrýddr með prýddum: prýddr með skrýddum all others

notes

[6] skrýddr ... prýddum ‘arrayed ... adorned’: The two epithets, applying to King Óláfr and the angels, are near synonyms, and are in reverse order in the ÓT text.

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með ‘with’

með (prep.): with

[6] skrýddr með prýddum: prýddr með skrýddum all others

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prýddum ‘the adorned’

prýða (verb): adorn

[6] skrýddr með prýddum: prýddr með skrýddum all others

notes

[6] skrýddr ... prýddum ‘arrayed ... adorned’: The two epithets, applying to King Óláfr and the angels, are near synonyms, and are in reverse order in the ÓT text.

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dyggðar ‘for virtue’

dyggð (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): virtue

[8] dyggðar: so 61, 54, Bb(95rb), dýrðar Bb(112rb), Flat

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

See Context to sts 29 and 30. Óláfr’s curious retainer Þorkell is finally allowed to follow Óláfr on one of his nightly excursions. In a clearing in a wood he sees the king in a house praying, attended by beings who appear to be angels.

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