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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr ErfÓl 2I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 2’ 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. 404.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonErfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar

text and translation

Flugþverrir nam fyrri
frægr aldrigi vægja;
heldr lét hauka skyldir
hugrekki sér þekkja.

{Frægr flugþverrir} nam aldrigi vægja fyrri; heldr lét {skyldir hauka} hugrekki þekkja sér.
‘The famous flight-diminisher [WARRIOR] never yielded first; rather the commander of hawks [RULER] made courage dear to him.

notes and context

This helmingr is the first quotation from ErfÓl in ÓT, at the beginning of the saga’s account of the battle of Svǫlðr. Óláfr, urged by his wavering troops to retreat, has just made a rousing speech affirming his intention to stand and fight and never to flee.

Mss 54 and Bb attribute this and st. 7 (see Note to st. 7 [All]) to the C12th skald Hallar-Steinn, from whose Rekstefja (HSt Rst), in honour of Óláfr, ÓT frequently quotes; but the agreement of 61 and Flat is probably decisive in favour of Hallfreðr. Further, Rst is in tvískelft metre, while the present stanza is in conventional dróttkvætt. — [1, 2] nam vægja ‘yielded’: Nam, lit. ‘took’, is a pleonastic auxiliary here.



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: Hallfrøðr Óttarsson vandræðaskáld, 3. Óláfsdrápa, erfidrápa 1: AI, 159, BI, 150, Skald I, 82; SHI 2, 291, ÓT 1958-2000, II, 259 (ch. 249), Flat 1860-8, I, 479.


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