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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr ErfÓl 28I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 28’ 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. 440.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonErfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar

text and translation

Norðr eru ǫll of orðin
auð lǫnd at gram dauðan;
allr glepsk friðr af falli
flugstyggs sonar Tryggva.

Ǫll lǫnd norðr eru of orðin auð at dauðan gram; allr friðr glepsk af falli {flugstyggs sonar Tryggva}.
‘All lands in the north have been desolated by the king’s death; all peace is confounded by the fall of the flight-shunning son of Tryggvi [= Óláfr].

notes and context

Hallfr recounts that Hallfreðr sails via Orkney to Norway where, learning the details of Óláfr Tryggvason’s death, he composes a memorial poem, Óláfsdrápa, for him, from which this is a refrain (stef). The ÓT redaction of Hallfr reports that Hallfreðr composed a drápa straight away (þegar), but only Flat quotes the stef. In ÓTOdd, this follows sts 18 and 19; after the stanza it is explained that auð ‘desolate’ has the sense that norðrlǫnd ‘the Nordic lands’ are bereft of a leader who will never be matched. The prologue to Þiðreks saga cites this stanza as an example of hyperbole in praise poetry.

The helmingr is a stef ‘refrain’, according to Hallfr (see Context). The grandiose content makes all four lines suitable for a stef, but only ll. 3-4 appear elsewhere in the extant poem (st. 23/7-8).



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 19: AI, 163, BI, 154, Skald I, 84, NN §480; Þiðr 1905-11, I, 3; ÓTOdd 1932, 234, ÍF 25, 350; ÍF 8, 194, Hallfr 1977, 103 (ch. 11), Flat 1860-8, I, 534.


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