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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hallv Knútdr 3III

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2017, ‘Hallvarðr háreksblesi, Knútsdrápa 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 233.

Hallvarðr háreksblesiKnútsdrápa

text and translation

Knútr, lézt framm til Fljóta
— frægr leið vǫrðr of ægi
heiptsnarr hildar leiptra —
harðbrynjuð skip dynja.
Ullar lézt við Ellu
ættleifð ok mô reifðir
sverðmans snyrtiherðir
sundviggs flota bundit.

Knútr, lézt harðbrynjuð skip dynja framm til Fljóta; {frægr, heiptsnarr vǫrðr {leiptra hildar}} leið of ægi. {Snyrtiherðir {Ullar {sundviggs}}}, lézt flota bundit við {ættleifð Ellu} ok reifðir {mô {sverðmans}}.
‘Knútr, you caused your hard-armoured ships to rush forward to Fljót; the famous, battle-bold guardian of the lightnings of battle [SWORDS > WARRIOR] glided across the sea. Splendid strengthener of Ullr’s <god’s> sea-horse [SHIP > SHIELD > WARRIOR], you had your fleet moored in the patrimony of Ælla [= England], and you gladdened the gull of the sword-girl [VALKYRIE > RAVEN/EAGLE].

notes and context

The stanza is quoted in Knýtl in the context of Knútr’s attack on England.

[5-8]: Some emendation is needed in the second helmingr, as the ms. forms do not supply a nom. noun or adj. to be the subject or addressee of the helmingr. The preferred option, adopted by Skj B, Knýtl 1919-25, Skald, and Frank (1994b), and followed here, is to emend snyrti-Gerðar in l. 7 to snyrti-herðir, so producing snyrti-herðir sundviggs Ullar ‘splendid strengthener of the sea-horse [SHIP] of Ullr <god> [SHIELD > WARRIOR]’. The second option, proposed in Fms 12, 247 and adopted by ÍF 35 and Jesch 2000, is to emend Ullar to Ullr in l. 5, so producing Ullr sundviggs ‘the Ullr <god> of the sound-horse [SHIP > SEAFARER]’. While this is paralleled by a comparable phrase, Ullr unnviggs ‘Ullr  <god> of the wave-horse [SHIP > SEAFARER]’, in ÞKolb Gunndr ll. 7, 8V (Gunnl 21), the emendation is problematic as it results in an unmetrical, hypometrical line, or, with the addition of a cliticised ‑u (léztu), it results in an illicit Type E/D4-line with a proclitic prep. in metrical position 4 (see Gade 1995a, 82-5).



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: Hallvarðr háreksblesi, Knútsdrápa 3: AI, 317, BI, 293, Skald I, 149, NN §782; 1741, 12-13, Knýtl 1919-25, 36 (ch. 8), ÍF 35, 103-4 (ch. 8); Frank 1994b, 120, Jesch 2000, 246.


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