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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
123

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.

Mss: 61(67ra), 54(63ra), Bb(98va), Flat(64ra) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] Flugþverrir: ‘Flygþverrir’ 54, Bb, ‘Fylg þyrrir’ Flat    [3] hauka: hǫlða 54, Bb;    skyldir: ‘bæítir’ Flat

Editions: Skj AI, 159, Skj BI, 150, Skald I, 82; SHI 2, 291, ÓT 1958-2000, II, 259 (ch. 249), Flat 1860-8, I, 479.

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.

Notes: [All]: 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. — [1] flugþverrir ‘flight-diminisher [WARRIOR]’: As Jesch (2001a, 243-7) observes, this topos is often a litotes in skaldic verse, as here: not only does Óláfr not flee, he fights valiantly to the bitter end. — [3] skyldir hauka ‘the commander of hawks [RULER]’: Hauka, the reading of the main ms., is both the lectio difficilior and supported by the stemmatically distant Flat, although it is unparalleled as a determinant in a ruler- or man-kenning. If skyldir hauka is a ruler-kenning, the reference must be to the king as director of his warriors; cf. Arn Magndr 18/8II herskyldir ‘troop-commander’, and for haukr meaning ‘man’, see Arn Hryn 3/5II and Note; also ÞjóðA Lv 10/7II. Alternatively, this could be a man-kenning referring to hunting with hawks. — [4] þekkja ‘dear’: As a ja-/jō-stem adj. þekkr has the normalised f. acc. sg. form þekkja, which is the form found in Flat, but 61, 54 and Bb have þekka, an alternative declensional form which occurs by analogy with a-stem adjectives (ANG §431). The word is taken here as an adj. agreeing with hugrekki ‘courage’ (so LP: þekkr). The form þekkja could alternatively be an inf. verb, hence lét þekkja sér hugrekki ‘allowed himself to be pleased with courage’ though the m. v. þekkjask would be more usual in this sense.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  4. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  5. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  6. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  7. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  8. SHI = Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1828-46. Scripta historica islandorum de rebus gestis veterum borealium, latine reddita et apparatu critico instructa, curante Societate regia antiquariorum septentrionalium. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp etc. and London: John & Arthur Arch.
  9. Internal references
  10. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Greatest Saga of Óláfr Tryggvason / Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar in mesta (ÓT)’ 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, pp. clxiii-clxvi.
  11. Rolf Stavnem 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja’ 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. 893.
  12. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda, Magnússdrápa 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 185-6.
  13. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Magnússdrápa 18’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 227-8.
  14. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Lausavísur 10’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 174-5.
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