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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr Hákdr 6III

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2017, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Hákonardrápa 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. 221.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonHákonardrápa

text and translation

Því hykk fleygjanda frægjan
— ferr Jǫrð und menþverri
ítran — eina at láta
Auðs systur mjǫk trauðan.

Því hykk {frægjan fleygjanda [auðs]} mjǫk trauðan at láta {systur Auðs} eina; Jǫrð ferr und {ítran menþverri}.
‘Because of that I think the renowned flinger [of riches] [GENEROUS MAN] is very reluctant to let Auðr’s <giant’s> sister [= Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’)] alone; Jǫrð <goddess> submits to the glorious ring-diminisher [GENEROUS MAN].

notes and context

Skm cites this half-stanza as the penultimate item in a set of six helmingar exemplifying kennings for the goddess Jǫrð (two of the others are also from Hallfreðr’s Hákdr, sts 7 and 8). The kenning in question is presumably systir Auðs ‘Auðr’s sister’, though interpretation is problematic; see Notes.

The syntax is problematic, and judging by the variant readings, also confused medieval scribes. Mss R, , W and B are defective in l. 4, leaving láta eina ‘let alone’ without an object. Ms. U’s reading systr ‘sisters’ (emended slightly to systur acc. sg.) makes good this lack, yielding the kenning systur Auðs ‘sister of Auðr [= Jǫrð]’. Skm’s prose also leads us to expect such a kenning, as this group of citations is introduced as follows (SnE 1998, I, 35): Hvernig skal jǫrð kenna? Kalla Ymis hold ok … systir Auðs ok Dags ‘How should one refer to “earth”? Call it Ymir’s flesh and … sister of Auðr and Dagr’. However, this leaves the man-kenning base-word fleygjanda ‘flinger’ in l. 1 without a determinant. Various solutions have been proposed (see Notes to ll. 1, 4 and l. 4 below). The one tentatively advanced in the Text is to treat auðs/Auðs as an instance of apo koinou, a single word functioning as the determinant of both of the helmingr’s kennings. — Ms. U attributes the half-stanza to ‘Hallver’ (with -er abbreviated) rather than Hallfreðr. — [1]: As Kock (NN §510) points out, this line contains an extra syllable. The first two words must be elided, making því hykk equivalent to one syllable; cf. Hfr ErfÓl 1/1I Þar hykk ‘There I believe’.



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, 1. Hákonardrápa 4: AI, 155, BI, 147, Skald I, 80, NN §§510, 2171A; SnE 1848-87, I, 322-3, II, 315, 528, III, 51, SnE 1931, 115, SnE 1998, I, 36; Davidson 1983, 510-15.


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