Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr Óldr 3I

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Óláfsdrápa 3’ 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. 394.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonÓláfsdrápa

Tíðhǫggvit lét tyggi
Tryggva sonr fyr styggvan
Leiknar hest á lesti
ljótvaxinn hræ Saxa.
Vinhróðigr gaf víða
vísi margra Frísa
blǫkku brúnt at drekka
blóð kveldriðu stóði.

Tyggi, {sonr Tryggva}, lét hræ Saxa tíðhǫggvit á lesti fyr {styggvan, ljótvaxinn hest Leiknar}. Víða gaf vinhróðigr vísi {blǫkku stóði {kveldriðu}} brúnt blóð margra Frísa at drekka.

The ruler, {Tryggvi’s son} [= Óláfr Tryggvason], had the corpses of Saxons cut down often, finally, before {the edgy, ugly-grown horse of Leikn <troll-woman>} [WOLF]. Far and wide the friend-exulting prince gave {the black stud {of the evening-rider}} [TROLL-WOMAN > WOLF] the dark blood of many Frisians to drink.

Mss: (149v-150r), 39(6ra), F(25ra), J1ˣ(88v) (Hkr); 61(15vb), 53(14ra), 54(10vb), Bb(21ra), 62(8rb), Flat(15rb) (ÓT); FskBˣ(33r), FskAˣ(120) (Fsk); 310(98) (ÓTOdd)

Readings: [1] ‑hǫggvit: ‘hoggot’ 62, Flat, ‘hoggvic’ FskBˣ;    lét: vann FskBˣ, FskAˣ, 310    [2] Tryggva: ‘tryga’ J1ˣ, ‘tryggía’ 62;    sonr: abbrev. as ‘s.’ 39, Bb, Flat, son F, J1ˣ, FskAˣ, sonar or sonr 310;    fyr: við 53, 54, Bb;    styggvan: dyggvan J1ˣ, 62, ‘dyggían’ 62, ‘skryggian’ Flat    [3] lesti: so all others, ‘lęsti’ or ‘lesti’ Kˣ    [4] ‑vaxinn: so F, J1ˣ, 61, 54, Bb, 62, Flat, FskBˣ, FskAˣ, 310, vaxin Kˣ, 39, 53;    hræ: gram 62, ‘hram’ Flat;    Saxa: vaxa 62, Flat    [5] ‑hróðigr: ‘‑roðr’ FskBˣ    [6] vísi: vísir Bb, FskBˣ, FskAˣ;    margra: margan 62, Flat    [7] blǫkku: blǫkum J1ˣ, FskBˣ, blakka 310;    brúnt: ‘brun’ 53, braut 62, bratt Flat, ‘brunnt’ 310

Editions: Skj AI, 157-8, Skj BI, 149, Skald I, 81; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 306, IV, 84-5, ÍF 26, 263-4, Hkr 1991, 176-7 (ÓTHkr ch. 29), F 1871, 114; ÓT 1958-2000, I, 148 (ch. 73), Flat 1860-8, I, 115; Fsk 1902-3, 109-10 (ch. 21), Fsk 1984, 142-3 (ch. 23); ÓTOdd 1932, 248.

Context: See Introduction.

Notes: [1] lét tíðhǫggvit ‘had ... cut down often’: Vann ‘caused (to be cut down), succeeded in (cutting down)’ is an equally good reading to lét; cf. st. 4/1. — [3] á lesti ‘finally’: This sits somewhat oddly with tíð- ‘often’, l. 1, and it is not clear whether it refers to the closure of this particular episode, the victory over the Saxons, or to a wider chronology. A. Bugge (1910, 9-12, cited in ÍF 26, 264 n.) assumed the latter, arguing that Óláfr had proceeded from England to Saxony and Friesland in the summer of 994 and that the stanza should follow sts 5 and 6 (= 8 and 9 in previous eds). — [4] ljótvaxinn ‘ugly-grown’: We can safely assume that this is not m. nom. sg. describing the subject, Óláfr, but m. acc. sg. qualifying hest ‘(troll-woman’s) horse’, hence the wolf to whom Saxon corpses are fed. The minority variant -vaxin, however, is also viable and would be n. acc. pl. qualifying hræ ‘corpses’. — [5] vinhróðigr ‘friend-exulting’: A hap. leg. which could alternatively mean ‘famous for [his] friends’, cf. vinsæll ‘blessed with friends, popular’. 


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  4. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  5. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  7. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  8. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  9. Bugge, Alexander. 1910. ‘Sandhed og digt om Olav Tryggvason’. ÅNOH, 1-34.
  10. Internal references
  11. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Fagrskinna (Fsk)’ 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. clix-clxi.
  12. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar by Oddr Snorrason (ÓTOdd)’ 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. clxxiv-clxxv.
  13. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Valgarðr á Velli, Poem about Haraldr harðráði 11’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 309-10.

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