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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hhal Lv 1I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallbjǫrn hali, Lausavísa 1’ 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. 383.

Hallbjǫrn haliLausavísa1

text and translation

Hér liggr skald, þats skalda
skǫrungr vas mestr at flestu;
naddveiti frák nýtan
níð Hôkuni smíða.
Áðr gat engr né síðan
annarra svá manna
— frægt hefr orðit þat fyrðum —
férán lokit hônum.

Hér liggr skald, þats vas mestr skǫrungr skalda at flestu; frák {nýtan naddveiti} smíða Hôkuni níð. Engr annarra manna gat áðr né síðan lokit hônum svá férán; þat hefr orðit frægt fyrðum.
‘Here lies the skald who was the greatest champion among skalds in most respects; I heard the handy spear-offerer [WARRIOR] crafted níð against Hákon. No other man managed before or since to pay him [Hákon] back so for robbery; that has become famous among men.

notes and context

Hallbjǫrn is trying to compose a commemorative poem about Þorleifr jarlsskáld but can get no further than Hér liggr skald ‘Here lies a skald’. Þorleifr appears to Hallbjǫrn in a dream and recites this stanza, telling him that if he can recall it when he wakes he will become a great poet.

[1] hér liggr skald, þats skalda ‘here lies the skald who ... among skalds’: The phrasing and rhythm recall the first line of Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld’s famous ‘sword’ stanza: Hfr Lv 11/1V (Hallfr 14) Eitt es sverð þats sverða ‘That is a sword among swords, that…’. — [7] frægt hefr orðit þat fyrðum ‘that has become famous among men’: This line is hypermetric. Kock suggests replacing hefr ‘has’ with enclitic -s ‘is’ (hence frægts orðit, without change of meaning) to correct the metre (NN §2542; Skald), but emendation solely for metrical reasons is generally avoided in the present edn.



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: Hallbjǫrn hali, Lausavísa: AI, 540, BI, 521, Skald I, 254, NN §2542; SHI 3, 107, Flat 1860-68, I, 215, ÞorlJ 1883, 131, 159, ÍF 9, 228, ÍS III, 2274 (ÞorlJ).


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