Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.



Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Hfr ErfÓl 17I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 17’ 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. 424.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonErfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar

text and translation

Ítrfermðum réð Ormi
orðsæll jǫfurr norðan
— snǫrp varð at þat sverða
snót — Eireki á móti.
En hýjǫfnum hefnir
hlýrs þeim Gota stýrði
— áðr óx of gram góðan
gunnr — Hôkonar sunnan.

Orðsæll jǫfurr réð ítrfermðum Ormi norðan á móti Eireki; {snót sverða} varð snǫrp at þat. En {hefnir Hôkonar} stýrði {þeim hýjǫfnum Gota hlýrs} sunnan; gunnr óx áðr of góðan gram.
‘The acclaimed prince [Óláfr] guided splendidly-laden Ormr (‘Serpent’) from the north against Eiríkr; the lady of swords [= Hildr (hildr ‘battle’)] became keen at that. But Hákon’s avenger [= Eiríkr] steered that very straight Goti <legendary horse> of the bow [SHIP] from the south; battle had swelled earlier around the good ruler.

notes and context

Eiríkr claims Ormr inn langi after the battle, and commands it himself.

The helmingar are neatly balanced semantically and syntactically. In the first Óláfr, guiding Ormr south before the battle, is the subject; in the second a ship is steered north by Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson. The stanza could be seen as describing the adversaries sailing towards one another before the battle, as, e.g., in ÞjóðA Lv 9II and Þfagr Sveinn 3II, and may play on this tradition, but the prose context is clearly correct in taking the second helmingr as an account of the victor Eiríkr steering the same ship back north after the battle. This is indicated by þeim ‘that’ in l. 6, and by the fact that the strong stress on áðr in l. 7 (indicated by the skothending with góðan) and the word order suggest it is the adv. ‘earlier’ not the conj. ‘before’. On the placing of the stanza, see Introduction.



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 18: AI, 163, BI, 154, Skald I, 84, NN §1958; SHI 3, 15-16, ÓT 1958-2000, II, 298 (ch. 258), Flat 1860-8, I, 520.


Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.


Stanza/chapter/text segment

Use the buttons at the top of the page to navigate between stanzas in a poem.

Information tab

Interactive tab

The text and translation are given here, with buttons to toggle whether the text is shown in the verse order or prose word order. Clicking on indiviudal words gives dictionary links, variant readings, kennings and notes, where relevant.

Full text tab

This is the text of the edition in a similar format to how the edition appears in the printed volumes.

Chapter/text segment

This view is also used for chapters and other text segments. Not all the headings shown are relevant to such sections.