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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr Hákdr 2III

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2017, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Hákonardrápa 2’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 216.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonHákonardrápa
123

Ólítit ‘Not a little’

ólítill (adj.): not small

[1] Ólítit: Ólítinn U

kennings

Ólítit hryngráp vápna Egils
‘Not a little ringing hail of Egill’s weapons ’
   = ARROWS

Egill’s weapons → BOWS
Not a little ringing hail of BOWS → ARROWS
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unn ‘of the wave’

2. unnr (noun f.): wave < unndýr (noun n.): [wave-beast]

[2] unndýrs: und fúrs U, ‘unn dvrs’ A

kennings

sumum runnum unndýrs
‘of some bushes of the wave-beast ’
   = SEAFARERS

the wave-beast → SHIP
some bushes of the SHIP → SEAFARERS
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unn ‘of the wave’

2. unnr (noun f.): wave < unndýr (noun n.): [wave-beast]

[2] unndýrs: und fúrs U, ‘unn dvrs’ A

kennings

sumum runnum unndýrs
‘of some bushes of the wave-beast ’
   = SEAFARERS

the wave-beast → SHIP
some bushes of the SHIP → SEAFARERS
Close

dýrs ‘beast’

1. dýr (noun n.; °-s (spec.: dyʀiɴs KonrA 66⁴‡, etc., cf. Seip 1955 188-189); -): animal < unndýr (noun n.): [wave-beast]

[2] unndýrs: und fúrs U, ‘unn dvrs’ A

kennings

sumum runnum unndýrs
‘of some bushes of the wave-beast ’
   = SEAFARERS

the wave-beast → SHIP
some bushes of the SHIP → SEAFARERS
Close

dýrs ‘beast’

1. dýr (noun n.; °-s (spec.: dyʀiɴs KonrA 66⁴‡, etc., cf. Seip 1955 188-189); -): animal < unndýr (noun n.): [wave-beast]

[2] unndýrs: und fúrs U, ‘unn dvrs’ A

kennings

sumum runnum unndýrs
‘of some bushes of the wave-beast ’
   = SEAFARERS

the wave-beast → SHIP
some bushes of the SHIP → SEAFARERS
Close

sumum ‘of some’

2. sumr (pron.): some

[2] sumum: svinnum Tˣ, ‘[…]vls’ U, frǫmum A

kennings

sumum runnum unndýrs
‘of some bushes of the wave-beast ’
   = SEAFARERS

the wave-beast → SHIP
some bushes of the SHIP → SEAFARERS

notes

[2] sumum ‘of some’: Skj B, followed by Skald, prefers A’s frǫmum (nom. framr) ‘of brave’, but the majority reading, contrary to Davidson’s (1983, 480) objections, is perfectly comprehensible.

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runnum ‘bushes’

runnr (noun m.; °dat. -i/-; -ar): bush, tree

[2] runnum: ‘runom’ Tˣ, ‘[…]unnvm’ U

kennings

sumum runnum unndýrs
‘of some bushes of the wave-beast ’
   = SEAFARERS

the wave-beast → SHIP
some bushes of the SHIP → SEAFARERS
Close

á ‘against’

3. á (prep.): on, at

[3] á: í C

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Hamðis ‘Hamðir’s’

Hamðir (noun m.): Hamðir

kennings

skyrtum Hamðis
‘Hamðir’s shirts ’
   = MAIL-SHIRTS

Hamðir’s shirts → MAIL-SHIRTS

notes

[3] skyrtum Hamðis ‘Hamðir’s <legendary hero’s> shirts [MAIL-SHIRTS]’: Hamðir and his brother Sǫrli (mentioned in l. 6) were given mail-shirts impenetrable to iron weapons by their mother Guðrún Gjúkadóttir before she sent them to avenge the killing of their sister Svanhildr (Vǫls ch. 44 (42), Vǫls 1906-8, 108-9). ‘Hamðir’ is a common determinant in kennings for ‘mail-shirt’.

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skyrtum ‘shirts’

skyrta (noun f.; °-u; -ur): shirt

[3] skyrtum: skyrtur U

kennings

skyrtum Hamðis
‘Hamðir’s shirts ’
   = MAIL-SHIRTS

Hamðir’s shirts → MAIL-SHIRTS

notes

[3] skyrtum Hamðis ‘Hamðir’s <legendary hero’s> shirts [MAIL-SHIRTS]’: Hamðir and his brother Sǫrli (mentioned in l. 6) were given mail-shirts impenetrable to iron weapons by their mother Guðrún Gjúkadóttir before she sent them to avenge the killing of their sister Svanhildr (Vǫls ch. 44 (42), Vǫls 1906-8, 108-9). ‘Hamðir’ is a common determinant in kennings for ‘mail-shirt’.

Close

hryn ‘ringing’

hryn- ((prefix)): roaring- < hryngráp (noun n.)

kennings

Ólítit hryngráp vápna Egils
‘Not a little ringing hail of Egill’s weapons ’
   = ARROWS

Egill’s weapons → BOWS
Not a little ringing hail of BOWS → ARROWS

notes

[4] hryngráp vápna Egils ‘ringing hail of Egill’s <legendary archer’s> weapons [BOWS > ARROWS]’: Egill, brother of the legendary smith Vǫlundr, is associated with arrows at one other point in the skaldic corpus (Eyv Lv 14/8I) and is portrayed as a mighty archer in Þiðreks saga af Bern (chs 127-8, Þiðr 1905-11, 123-4). He is also depicted on the lid of the Franks Casket (English, Northumbrian, C8th). The extended metaphor of hail and rain continues in ll. 5-8 (méilskúrum ‘in missile-showers’) and is also prominent in Eskál Vell 10-11I. Davidson (1983, 199-200, 481) draws a parallel between this imagery and Jómsvíkinga saga’s description of two troll-women sending a magical hailstorm against Hákon’s enemies and shooting arrows from their fingertips at the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen; Jvs ch. 45, Jvs 1879, 80-1).

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gráp ‘hail’

gráp (noun n.): hail < hryngráp (noun n.)

[4] ‑gráp: ‑gráps Tˣ, gjalp U, ‘‑grapn’ C

kennings

Ólítit hryngráp vápna Egils
‘Not a little ringing hail of Egill’s weapons ’
   = ARROWS

Egill’s weapons → BOWS
Not a little ringing hail of BOWS → ARROWS

notes

[4] hryngráp vápna Egils ‘ringing hail of Egill’s <legendary archer’s> weapons [BOWS > ARROWS]’: Egill, brother of the legendary smith Vǫlundr, is associated with arrows at one other point in the skaldic corpus (Eyv Lv 14/8I) and is portrayed as a mighty archer in Þiðreks saga af Bern (chs 127-8, Þiðr 1905-11, 123-4). He is also depicted on the lid of the Franks Casket (English, Northumbrian, C8th). The extended metaphor of hail and rain continues in ll. 5-8 (méilskúrum ‘in missile-showers’) and is also prominent in Eskál Vell 10-11I. Davidson (1983, 199-200, 481) draws a parallel between this imagery and Jómsvíkinga saga’s description of two troll-women sending a magical hailstorm against Hákon’s enemies and shooting arrows from their fingertips at the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen; Jvs ch. 45, Jvs 1879, 80-1).

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Egils ‘of Egill’s’

Egill (noun m.): Egill

[4] Egils: ‘eg[…]ls’ U

kennings

Ólítit hryngráp vápna Egils
‘Not a little ringing hail of Egill’s weapons ’
   = ARROWS

Egill’s weapons → BOWS
Not a little ringing hail of BOWS → ARROWS

notes

[4] hryngráp vápna Egils ‘ringing hail of Egill’s <legendary archer’s> weapons [BOWS > ARROWS]’: Egill, brother of the legendary smith Vǫlundr, is associated with arrows at one other point in the skaldic corpus (Eyv Lv 14/8I) and is portrayed as a mighty archer in Þiðreks saga af Bern (chs 127-8, Þiðr 1905-11, 123-4). He is also depicted on the lid of the Franks Casket (English, Northumbrian, C8th). The extended metaphor of hail and rain continues in ll. 5-8 (méilskúrum ‘in missile-showers’) and is also prominent in Eskál Vell 10-11I. Davidson (1983, 199-200, 481) draws a parallel between this imagery and Jómsvíkinga saga’s description of two troll-women sending a magical hailstorm against Hákon’s enemies and shooting arrows from their fingertips at the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen; Jvs ch. 45, Jvs 1879, 80-1).

Close

Egils ‘of Egill’s’

Egill (noun m.): Egill

[4] Egils: ‘eg[…]ls’ U

kennings

Ólítit hryngráp vápna Egils
‘Not a little ringing hail of Egill’s weapons ’
   = ARROWS

Egill’s weapons → BOWS
Not a little ringing hail of BOWS → ARROWS

notes

[4] hryngráp vápna Egils ‘ringing hail of Egill’s <legendary archer’s> weapons [BOWS > ARROWS]’: Egill, brother of the legendary smith Vǫlundr, is associated with arrows at one other point in the skaldic corpus (Eyv Lv 14/8I) and is portrayed as a mighty archer in Þiðreks saga af Bern (chs 127-8, Þiðr 1905-11, 123-4). He is also depicted on the lid of the Franks Casket (English, Northumbrian, C8th). The extended metaphor of hail and rain continues in ll. 5-8 (méilskúrum ‘in missile-showers’) and is also prominent in Eskál Vell 10-11I. Davidson (1983, 199-200, 481) draws a parallel between this imagery and Jómsvíkinga saga’s description of two troll-women sending a magical hailstorm against Hákon’s enemies and shooting arrows from their fingertips at the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen; Jvs ch. 45, Jvs 1879, 80-1).

Close

vápna ‘weapons’

vápn (noun n.; °-s; -): weapon

kennings

Ólítit hryngráp vápna Egils
‘Not a little ringing hail of Egill’s weapons ’
   = ARROWS

Egill’s weapons → BOWS
Not a little ringing hail of BOWS → ARROWS

notes

[4] hryngráp vápna Egils ‘ringing hail of Egill’s <legendary archer’s> weapons [BOWS > ARROWS]’: Egill, brother of the legendary smith Vǫlundr, is associated with arrows at one other point in the skaldic corpus (Eyv Lv 14/8I) and is portrayed as a mighty archer in Þiðreks saga af Bern (chs 127-8, Þiðr 1905-11, 123-4). He is also depicted on the lid of the Franks Casket (English, Northumbrian, C8th). The extended metaphor of hail and rain continues in ll. 5-8 (méilskúrum ‘in missile-showers’) and is also prominent in Eskál Vell 10-11I. Davidson (1983, 199-200, 481) draws a parallel between this imagery and Jómsvíkinga saga’s description of two troll-women sending a magical hailstorm against Hákon’s enemies and shooting arrows from their fingertips at the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen; Jvs ch. 45, Jvs 1879, 80-1).

Close

vápna ‘weapons’

vápn (noun n.; °-s; -): weapon

kennings

Ólítit hryngráp vápna Egils
‘Not a little ringing hail of Egill’s weapons ’
   = ARROWS

Egill’s weapons → BOWS
Not a little ringing hail of BOWS → ARROWS

notes

[4] hryngráp vápna Egils ‘ringing hail of Egill’s <legendary archer’s> weapons [BOWS > ARROWS]’: Egill, brother of the legendary smith Vǫlundr, is associated with arrows at one other point in the skaldic corpus (Eyv Lv 14/8I) and is portrayed as a mighty archer in Þiðreks saga af Bern (chs 127-8, Þiðr 1905-11, 123-4). He is also depicted on the lid of the Franks Casket (English, Northumbrian, C8th). The extended metaphor of hail and rain continues in ll. 5-8 (méilskúrum ‘in missile-showers’) and is also prominent in Eskál Vell 10-11I. Davidson (1983, 199-200, 481) draws a parallel between this imagery and Jómsvíkinga saga’s description of two troll-women sending a magical hailstorm against Hákon’s enemies and shooting arrows from their fingertips at the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen; Jvs ch. 45, Jvs 1879, 80-1).

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Þaðan ‘As a result’

þaðan (adv.): from there

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fǫt ‘garments’

fat (noun n.; °; *-): garments

[5] fǫt: fǫr A

kennings

bjǫrt fǫt Sǫrla
‘the bright garments of Sǫrli ’
   = MAIL-SHIRTS

the bright garments of Sǫrli → MAIL-SHIRTS

notes

[5, 6] fǫt Sǫrla ‘garments of Sǫrli <legendary hero> [MAIL-SHIRTS]’: The name of the legendary hero Sǫrli, like that of his brother Hamðir (cf. skyrtum Hamðis ‘Hamðir’s shirts’, l. 3), is used as a determinant in armour-kennings, though Sǫrli is much the rarer of the two, occurring otherwise only in Tindr Hákdr 3/6I and Eskál Vell 30/4I.

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fregnk ‘I learn’

1. fregna (verb): hear of

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gǫrla ‘clearly’

gǫrla (adv.): quite, fully

[6] gǫrla: ‘[…]orla’ U

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Sǫrla ‘of Sǫrli’

Sǫrli (noun m.): Sǫrli

kennings

bjǫrt fǫt Sǫrla
‘the bright garments of Sǫrli ’
   = MAIL-SHIRTS

the bright garments of Sǫrli → MAIL-SHIRTS

notes

[5, 6] fǫt Sǫrla ‘garments of Sǫrli <legendary hero> [MAIL-SHIRTS]’: The name of the legendary hero Sǫrli, like that of his brother Hamðir (cf. skyrtum Hamðis ‘Hamðir’s shirts’, l. 3), is used as a determinant in armour-kennings, though Sǫrli is much the rarer of the two, occurring otherwise only in Tindr Hákdr 3/6I and Eskál Vell 30/4I.

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rjóðask ‘reddened ’

rjóða (verb): to redden

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bjǫrt ‘the bright’

bjartr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): bright

[7] bjǫrt: so Tˣ, W, U, A, bjǫrk R, C

kennings

bjǫrt fǫt Sǫrla
‘the bright garments of Sǫrli ’
   = MAIL-SHIRTS

the bright garments of Sǫrli → MAIL-SHIRTS

notes

[7] bjǫrt ‘bright’: So , W, U, A. The reading of R and C must be rejected as bjǫrk ‘birch’ will not form a kenning with the available determinants; nor can it agree with the pl. verbs verða or rjóðask (if the latter is taken as 3rd pers. pl. pres. indic. rather than as an inf.).

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blóði ‘the blood’

blóð (noun n.; °-s): blood

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ben ‘by wound’

1. ben (noun f.; °-jar, dat. -; -jar , gen. -a(var. EiðKrC 402¹³: AM 77 4°— “D”)): wound < benfúrr (noun m.)

kennings

benfúr
‘by wound-fire ’
   = SWORD

by wound-fire → SWORD
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fúr ‘fire’

fúrr (noun m.): fire < benfúrr (noun m.)

[8] ‑fúr: so Tˣ, W, U, fyrir R, fúr við A, ‑fúr fyrir C

kennings

benfúr
‘by wound-fire ’
   = SWORD

by wound-fire → SWORD
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méil ‘in missile’

méil (noun n.): [arrow] < méilskúr (noun f.)

[8] méil‑: ‘mell’ C, méils C

kennings

méilskúrum;
‘in missile-showers; ’
   = BATTLE

in missile-showers; → BATTLE

notes

[8] méilskúrum ‘in missile-showers [BATTLE]’: Méil- is only otherwise attested in the cpd méilregni ‘with missile-rain’, Eskál Vell 10/4I, where it must be disyllabic. Reichardt (1928, 60; cf. ÍF 26, 211 n.) asserts that méil- is identical to monosyllabic mél ‘bit [of a bridle]’, and argues that méil- may be either disyllabic or, as here, monosyllabic (cf. C’s ‘mell’). This renders metrical C’s text of l. 8, benfúr fyr méilskúrum, which is the basis of Reichardt’s interpretation of the half-stanza (see Note to ll. 5-8 above). But the exact meaning and etymology of méil- are unclear (Kristensen 1907, 235-40; AEW: méilregn; ÍO: méil-), and Hallfreðr’s self-conscious imitation of Eskál Vell makes it improbable that méil- should be monosyllabic here when it is disyllabic in the same metrical position in Vell 10/4I.

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skúrum ‘showers’

1. skúr (noun f.; °; -ir): shower < méilskúr (noun f.)

kennings

méilskúrum;
‘in missile-showers; ’
   = BATTLE

in missile-showers; → BATTLE

notes

[8] méilskúrum ‘in missile-showers [BATTLE]’: Méil- is only otherwise attested in the cpd méilregni ‘with missile-rain’, Eskál Vell 10/4I, where it must be disyllabic. Reichardt (1928, 60; cf. ÍF 26, 211 n.) asserts that méil- is identical to monosyllabic mél ‘bit [of a bridle]’, and argues that méil- may be either disyllabic or, as here, monosyllabic (cf. C’s ‘mell’). This renders metrical C’s text of l. 8, benfúr fyr méilskúrum, which is the basis of Reichardt’s interpretation of the half-stanza (see Note to ll. 5-8 above). But the exact meaning and etymology of méil- are unclear (Kristensen 1907, 235-40; AEW: méilregn; ÍO: méil-), and Hallfreðr’s self-conscious imitation of Eskál Vell makes it improbable that méil- should be monosyllabic here when it is disyllabic in the same metrical position in Vell 10/4I.

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

Skm quotes the helmingar of this stanza in succession as instances of kennings for weapons and armour, here skyrtur Hamðis ‘Hamðir’s shirts’ and fǫt Sǫrla ‘Sǫrli’s garments’. In ms. A, the second helmingr follows directly with no intervening prose.

[5-8]: The crucial issue here is the gender of benfúr ‘wound-fire’ in l. 8 (ms. R’s ben fyr spoils the aðalhending and must be rejected). (a) If the second element is taken as (an inflected form of) fúrr m. ‘fire’, as is conventional, it must be acc. or dat. sg., so it cannot be the subject of rjóðask ‘are reddened’. The interpretation in the Text, that of Faulkes (SnE 1998), solves this by taking benfúr as instr. with verða rjóðask (ll. 5, 7), where rjóðask is an inf. (b) Following Konráð Gíslason (1895-7, I, 114-15), Reichardt (1928, 62-4) suggests that fúr is n. (and so nom. pl.). He also adopts C’s fyr in l. 8, and reads: Þaðan verða Sǫrla fǫt fyrða fyr méilskúrum; fregnk gǫrla þat; bjǫrt benfúr rjóðask í blóði ‘As a result the mail-shirts of the warriors are exposed to missiles; I learn clearly of that; bright swords are reddened with blood’. Reichardt’s reading is undeniably attractive (NN §1834 and Davidson follow him), but there are several problems with it: ms. C’s ‘fvr fyrir’ is unsupported by the other mss and looks like dittography; the identity of disyllabic méil with monosyllabic mél is questionable (see Note to l. 8 below); and there are a few unambiguous instances of fúrr m. but none, save the one Reichardt posits in the present verse, of fúr n. (c) Skj B takes l. 8 as part of the stef, and so does not include it in the syntax of the helmingr (ll. 5-7 are interpreted as above): this is unsatisfactory.

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