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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr ErfÓl 15I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 15’ 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. 421.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonErfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar

text and translation

Gótt es gǫrva at frétta
— gunnr óx fyr haf sunnan —
— sverð bitu feigra fyrða
fjǫrrǫnn — at því mǫnnum:
hvern rakkligast rekka
randláðs viðir kvôðu
— Surts ættar vinnk sléttan
sylg — Ôleifi fylgja.

Gótt es mǫnnum at frétta gǫrva at því — gunnr óx fyr sunnan haf; sverð bitu {fjǫrrǫnn} feigra fyrða —: hvern rekka {viðir {randláðs}} kvôðu fylgja Ôleifi rakkligast; vinnk {sléttan sylg {ættar Surts}}.
‘It is good for people to ask searchingly about this — battle swelled south of the sea; swords bit life-halls [BREASTS] of fated men —: which of the champions did trees of the rim-land [SHIELD > WARRIORS] say supported Óláfr most bravely; I make the smooth drink of the family of Surtr <giant> [GIANTS > POETRY].

notes and context

After describing the battle of Svǫlðr, ÓT reports the different accounts of its last moments, and observes that the bravery of Óláfr’s men will be long remembered. Hallfreðr’s stanza is introduced as a witness that Þorkell nefja ‘Nose’ gave outstanding support to his brother Óláfr.

[1]: The final a of gǫrva and initial a of at must be elided to make the line regular (Gade 1995a, 66), and so es cannot be cliticised to yield Gótts (cf. Note to st. 12/7 ek). The line resembles st. 18/7: hætts til hans at frétta ‘it’s risky to enquire about him’, i.e. about Óláfr’s fate.



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 15: AI, 162, BI, 153, Skald I, 83, NN §1957; SHI 3, 2-3, ÓT 1958-2000, II, 288 (ch. 256), Flat 1860-8, I, 493.


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