skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Hfr ErfÓl 6I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 6’ 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. 409.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonErfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar
567

Herskerðir klauf harðan
— hann gekk reiðr of skeiðar —
svarðar stofn með sverði
sunnr eldviðum kunnum.
Kunni gramr at gunni
— gunnþinga jarnmunnum
margr lá heggr of hǫggvinn —
holdbarkar rô sarka.

{Herskerðir} klauf {harðan stofn svarðar} {kunnum eldviðum} með sverði sunnr; hann gekk reiðr of skeiðar. Gramr kunni sarka {rô {holdbarkar}} at gunni; {margr heggr {Gunnþinga}} lá of hǫggvinn jarnmunnum.

{The army-diminisher} [RULER] split {the hard stump of the scalp} [HEAD] {of famous sword-trees} [WARRIORS] with a sword in the south; he went angry through the warships. The prince knew how to redden {the yard-arm {of flesh-bark}} [MAIL-SHIRT > SWORD] in battle; {many a cherry-tree {of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie>}} [BATTLES > WARRIOR] lay chopped down by iron mouths.

Mss: 54(64ra), Bb(99vb) (ÓT); A(21v) (ll. 5-8) (SnE)

Readings: [3] svarðar: ‘suafdar’ 54, Bb    [6] gunnþinga jarnmunnum: so A, gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum 54, Bb    [7] heggr: ‘hæggr’ 54, Bb, herr A    [8] holdbarkar rô: hold barkaðra 54, hold barkaðrar or ‘hold barkaðrra’ Bb, ‘hollbarkat ra’ A;    sarka: ‘sęrka’ Bb, ‘sarkat’ A

Editions: Skj AI, 160, Skj BI, 151, Skald I, 82, NN §§2450, 2987L; SHI 2, 302-3, ÓT 1958-2000, II, 267 (ch. 250); SnE 1848-87, II, 493, III, 174-5.

Context: In ÓT, following the initial phase of exchanging missiles, hand-to-hand fighting commences on Ormr inn langi (see Note to st. 10/1). In the extra þulur found in the version of SnE preserved in ms. A, ll. 5-8 are used to exemplify the word sarkat (l. 8), which according to this source is synonymous with roðit ‘reddened’ (see Note).

Notes: [All]: Tree-felling as an extended metaphor for battle runs through this stanza: warrior-kennings with base-words referring to trees, common in skaldic poetry, are supplemented with the more unusual kenning stofn svarðar ‘stump of the scalp [HEAD]’ and the unique holdbǫrkr ‘flesh-bark [MAIL-SHIRT]’ (see Note to l. 8 below). — [1] herskerðir ‘the army-diminisher [RULER]’: The close parallel herskerðandi ‘army-diminisher’ GunnlI Lv 13/7V (Gunnl 22), cited in Meissner 341, is an emendation, but cf. skerðir Engla ‘diminisher of the English’ Egill Lv 11/7V (Eg 16). — [3] svarðar ‘of the scalp’: (a) This is a long-established emendation of ms. ‘suafdar’, already adopted in Árni Magnússon’s copy of this stanza in 761bˣ. It provides a conventional kenning for ‘head’, stofn svarðar ‘stump of the scalp’, cf. strǫnd svarðar ‘shore of the scalp’ RvHbreiðm Hl 32/8III, hjalmstofn ‘helmet-stump’ GSúrs Lv 34/8V(Gísl 37). It also supplies conventionally positioned hendingar, as the viðrhending (second part of an internal rhyme) is sverð-, the penultimate syllable in the line, rather than stofn, the third (see Kuhn 1983, 85). (b) ‘Suafdar’ in both mss is not readily explained. It could be the f. nom./acc. pl. of the p. p. of svefja ‘to lull to sleep’, or perhaps some other derivative of the root *seu- (AEW: svefn), referring to sleep, putting to sleep, or killing (cf. Note to Þul Óðins 4/3III on the Óðinn-name Sváfnir), but no solution along these lines fits the syntax, semantics and metre of the helmingr as preserved, and the emendation stands. — [4] kunnum eldviðum ‘of famous sword-trees [WARRIORS]’: Finnur Jónsson in Skj B emends kunnum to gunnar ‘of battle’ to produce eldviðum gunnar ‘men’, presumably with viðum ‘trees’ as base-word and eld- gunnar ‘fire of battle [SWORD]’ as determinant. However, eldr ‘fire’ is among the sword-heiti in Þul Sverða 8/2III, and can mean ‘sword’ in warrior- and battle-kennings, though the examples are mainly in later poetry (see Meissner 76, who suggests that eldr in these expressions is a synonym for brandr m. ‘flame, sword’). Emendation is therefore unnecessary (so also Krijn 1931, 54). — [5]: Although this is an odd line, it contains aðalhending, an occasional metrical liberty. — [6] Gunnþinga jarnmunnum ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES] ... by iron mouths’: Semantically there is little to choose between the reading of ms. A adopted in the Text above and Gunnþings/gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum, the reading of 54 and Bb, and the latter is preferred by some previous eds (Wisén 1886-9, I, 35; Skald, reading af for á). Gen. sg. Gunnþings ‘of the meeting of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLE]’ is equivalent as a determinant to gen. pl. Gunnþinga, while á hjǫr þunnum ‘by/on thin blades’ takes the place of jarnmunnum ‘by iron mouths’. But the prep. á ‘on, in’, necessary to preserve scansion, is odd in context (occasioning Skald’s emendation to af ‘by’), and this combined with the parallel in Hókr Eirfl 7/4 for jarnmunnum (below) tips the balance in favour of A’s reading. — [6] Gunnþinga ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES]’: Gunnr is a valkyrie-name and a common noun (as in l. 5) and here, as frequently, it is difficult to tell them apart; hence ‘of battle-meetings’ is also possible, though it would not be a true kenning. On Gunnr/Guðr see further Note to Þul Valkyrja 1/6III. — [6] jarnmunnum ‘with iron mouths’: Cf. Hókr Eirfl 7/4, and Note to st. 1/2 above for further resemblances between the two poems. Krijn (1931, 54) observed that the expression is more opaque here, where it stands alone, than in Hókr Eirfl 7/4, where jarnmunnr is part of a bird metaphor. Munnr ‘mouth’ is, however, a well-established term for the cutting edge of a weapon (Fritzner: muðr 2; LP: munnr, muðr; NN §2450), and would have been intelligible as such. — [7] heggr ‘cherry-tree’: A minor emendation of the ms. readings. The species is bird-cherry, common in Scandinavia. — [8] rô holdbarkar ‘the yard-arm of flesh-bark [MAIL-SHIRT > SWORD]’: The whole of l. 8 presents considerable difficulties, not least the word sarkat (variant sarka), which the helmingr is ostensibly introduced into SnE to explain (see Note below). (a) The ms. readings (‘barkaðra’ 54, Bb, ‘barkat’ A) suggest the word beginning barka- is a p. p. It is interpreted as such by Sveinbjörn Egilsson: [h]rá-sarka barkat hold, and explained by him as ‘to give a raw wound to barked (mail-clad) flesh’ (SHI 2) or as ‘to denude barked flesh, to strip the armour from a mailed body’ (LP (1860): barkaðr, rásárka). But barka means not ‘to cover with bark’ but ‘to strip the bark from’ (cf. Engl. ‘gut’) or ‘to tan with bark’ (Fritzner IV: barka). Even if we instead postulate barkat hold ‘tanned, i.e. toughened flesh’ (Finnur Jónsson 1907, 316: barkaðr), hrár ‘raw, sappy’ usually applies to meat or vegetation, rather than wounds. The lack of initial <h> is also problematic, as the only other instance of this spelling, in Hávm 151/6 (NK 42), is doubtful (Evans 1986, 138-9). (b) Harðbarkliga ‘very boastfully’, suggested by Krijn (1931, 54), is a radical emendation, and involves an emended version of the ÓT mss’ hjǫr þunnum in l. 6 in place of jarnmunnum (see Note above). (c) The best solution seems to be to interpret the words preceding sarkat/sarka as a series of nouns comprising a kenning, of which the base-word is ‘yard-arm’, and the determinant is either holdbarkar ‘of flesh-bark’ (Gísli Brynjúlfsson 1857, 189-90; SnE 1848-87, III; Skald; NN §2450) or holbarkar ‘of hollow-bark’ (Skj B; LP: holbǫrkr). Holdbǫrkr ‘flesh-bark’ has at least one parallel (bark nǫkkva bœnar ‘bark of the ship of prayer [BREAST > MAIL-SHIRT]’ Hallv Knútdr 6/3, 4III; cf. also barklaust birki bǫðserkjar ‘barkless birches of the battle-shirt [MAIL-SHIRT > WARRIORS]’ Hfr Óldr 2/5, 6), whereas Finnur Jónsson’s idea of the mail-shirt as bark encircling the empty interior of the body (LP: holbǫrkr) has none. — [8] sarka ‘redden’: (a) The interpretation preferred in the Text above is kunni ... sarka ‘knew how to redden’. Although the verb *sarka ‘redden (with wounds)’ is otherwise unknown and its meaning somewhat uncertain, ‘redden’ is vouched for by ms. A’s equation of sarkat with roðit ‘reddened’. Other solutions are less plausible. (b) AEW: sarka assumes derivation from sárr ‘wound’, and suggests the possibility of a form sárka (also the headword in LP), but the short vowel is metrically guaranteed in the present stanza. (c) LP (1860): rásárka suggested that ‘roðit’, to which ‘sarkat’ is equated in SnE, is hroðit ‘stripped’ rather than roðit ‘reddened’, presumably yielding something along the lines of ‘strip until raw’.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  7. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  8. 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.
  9. LP (1860) = Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1860. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis. Copenhagen: Societas Regia antiquariorum septentrionalium.
  10. Evans, David A. H., ed. 1986. Hávamál. Viking Society Text Series 7. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  11. Wisén, Theodor, ed. 1886-9. Carmina Norrœnæ: Ex reliquiis vetustioris norrœnæ poësis selecta, recognita, commentariis et glossario instructa. 2 vols. Lund: Ohlsson.
  12. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  13. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  14. Kuhn, Hans (1899). 1983. Das Dróttkvætt. Heidelberg: Winter.
  15. Finnur Jónsson. 1907. ‘Tilnavne i den islandske oldlitteratur’. ÅNOH, 161-381.
  16. Fritzner IV = Hødnebø, Finn. 1972. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog af Dr. Johan Fritzner: Rettelser og tillegg. Oslo, Bergen, Tromsø: Universitetsforlaget.
  17. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  18. 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.
  19. Gísli Brynjúlfsson. 1857. ‘Nogle exempler paa mythologiske Antydninger hos Oldtidens Skjalde’. Antiquarisk tidsskrift (1855-7), 147-9.
  20. Krijn, S. A. 1931. ‘Halfred Vandraedaskald’. Neophilologus 16, 46-55, 121-31.
  21. Internal references
  22. Edith Marold 2017, ‘Snorra Edda (Prologue, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál)’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  23. 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.
  24. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Heiti valkyrja 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 969.
  25. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Óðins nǫfn 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 741.
  26. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Sverða heiti 8’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 804.
  27. Not published: do not cite (Egill Lv 11V (Eg 16))
  28. Not published: do not cite ()
  29. Not published: do not cite (GSúrs Lv 34V (Gísl 37))
  30. Not published: do not cite (GunnlI Lv 13V (Gunnl 22))
  31. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2017, ‘Hallvarðr háreksblesi, Knútsdrápa 6’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 237.
  32. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2012, ‘Halldórr ókristni, Eiríksflokkr 7’ 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. 482.
  33. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 32’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1041.
  34. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Óláfsdrápa 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. 393.
Close

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.

Close

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.