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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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HSt Rst 33I

Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 33’ 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. 935.


text and translation

Þengill þróttarstrǫngum
þeim bauð Kristr af heimi
byrtjalds (beztu heilli)
bragningi (goð fagni).
Ygglaust alla þiggi
eljunfimr á himnum
Óláfr œzta sælu
ítrbóls með gram sólar.

Kristr, {þengill {byrtjalds}}, bauð þróttarstrǫngum bragningi af þeim heimi; goð fagni beztu heilli. Eljunfimr Óláfr þiggi ygglaust alla œzta sælu á himnum með {gram {ítrbóls sólar}}.
‘Christ, the prince of the wind-tent [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)], invited the ruler strong in valour out of the world; may God receive [him] with the highest grace. May the vigorous Óláfr receive without fear all the highest bliss in the heavens with the lord of the splendid abode of the sun [SKY/HEAVEN > = God].

notes and context

[1-4]: The general sense of the helmingr is clearly that Óláfr was summoned by God from this world into heaven; but there are alternative analyses of the kenning elements, and alternative solutions to the fact that there is only one dat. noun, bragningi ‘prince’, but two finite verbs, bauð ‘invited’ and fagni ‘receive, welcome’, requiring a dat. object. (a) In the text above, nom. sg. þengill forms a natural kenning for God with byrtjalds ‘wind-tent [SKY/HEAVEN]’, which is set in apposition to the nom. sg. Kristr ‘Christ’ (so also Skj B). Þróttarstrǫngum ‘strong in valour’ is taken as an attributive adj. with bragningi ‘prince’, and þeim is taken with heimi, hence ‘the world’. Fagni lacks an explicit object, but this is easily understood to be the same bragningi ‘prince’ as in the first clause. (b) In Skj B (following Konráð Gíslason 1895-7) strǫngum ‘strong’ is taken as substantival, hence þeim þróttar strǫngum ‘the one strong in valour/power’. This has the advantage of leaving bragningi available as the explicit object of fagni. (c) Kock (NN §1187) objects to the positioning of Kristr relative to the kenning. He emends þengill to dat. sg. þengil, object of bauð ‘invited’, and takes þeim as a pron. ‘him’ in apposition to it. He takes together af heimi byrtjalds ‘from the world of the wind-tent [HEAVEN]’, qualifying bauð, so that God calls to Óláfr out of heaven. However, the addition of heimi ‘world’ to the heaven-kenning makes it overloaded, and it is more natural to understand af heimi as referring to Óláfr leaving the earth. — [3] -tjalds : heilli: On this rhyme, see Note to st. 32/3.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Hallar-Steinn, 1. Rekstefja 33: AI, 551-2, BI, 533-4, Skald I, 259, NN §§1187, 2113; SHI 3, 266-7, CPB II, 300, Wisén 1886-9, I, 50, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 164, Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 283-5.


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