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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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HSt Frag 5III

Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Fragments 5’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 206.


text and translation

Ek hef óðar lokri,
ǫlstafna, þér skafna,
væn mǫrk, — skala verki
vandr — stefknarrar branda.

Ek hef skafna þér {branda {stefknarrar}} {lokri óðar}, {væn mǫrk {ǫlstafna}}; verki skala vandr.
‘I have smoothed the bows of the refrain-ship [DRÁPA > UPPHAF] for you with the plane of poetry [TONGUE], beautiful forest of ale-prows [DRINKING HORNS > WOMAN]; the poem should not be difficult.

notes and context

This helmingr is cited in Skm (SnE) to exemplify a woman-kenning with mǫrk ‘forest’ as its base-word.

In this stanza, Hallar-Steinn compares the activity of composing poetry to that of a ship-builder smoothing wood with a plane; the poem (drápa) is a ship (stefknǫrr ‘refrain-ship’) and the beginning of the poem (upphaf) the bow(s) (brandar) of a ship (Clunies Ross 2005a, 38). Cf. also RvHbreiðm Hl 3/3, where framstafn ‘the prow’ refers to the beginning of the poem (see Kreutzer 1977, 255-7 on comparison of poems to ships in skaldic poetry, as well as Clunies Ross 2005a, 87).



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, 2. a. Af et digt om en kvinde 4: AI, 553, BI, 535, Skald I, 260, NN §§447A, 1188, 1853E; SnE 1848-87, I, 410-11, II, 324, 435, 584, III, 73, SnE 1931, 146, SnE 1998, I, 63.


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