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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hharð Lv 10II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson, Lausavísur 10’ 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. 51-2.

Haraldr harðráði SigurðarsonLausavísur


Lv 10-11 (Hharð Lv 10-11) are recorded in Mork (Mork), H, Hr (H-Hr) and Flat (Flat) as part of an episode in which Haraldr and his court poet, the Icelander Þjóðólfr Arnórsson (ÞjóðA), engage in a poetic exchange with a Norw. fisherman called Þorgils (see ÞjóðA Lv 4; Þfisk Lv 1-3). The episode is also recorded at the very end of HSig in F with two additional sts allegedly composed by two of Þorgils’ sons, a young man and a saltburner. See Anon (HSig) 3-4. In F, Lv 11/5-8 are given as the second helmingr of a st. spoken by the saltburner. The first helmingr of that st. is recorded in F only. The differences in prose and poetry between the Mork and F redactions suggest that we are dealing with two oral variants of the same story (see Louis-Jensen 1977, 85-7; Fidjestøl 1971).

text and translation

Hjoggu harða dyggvir
hirðmenn Dani stirða;
sótti ferð á flótta
framm; en þat vas skǫmmu.
Hitt vas fyrr, es fjarri
fóstrlandi rauðk branda;
sverð í Serkja garði
sǫng; en þat vas lǫngu.

Harða dyggvir hirðmenn hjoggu stirða Dani; ferð sótti framm á flótta; en þat vas skǫmmu. Hitt vas fyrr, es rauðk branda fjarri fóstrlandi; sverð sǫng í garði Serkja; en þat vas lǫngu.
‘The most loyal retainers cut down relentless Danes; the troop rushed forth in flight; and that was recently. It was earlier when I reddened the blades far from my native land; the sword sang in the stronghold of the Saracens; but that was long ago.

notes and context

See Introduction to Lv 10-11 above.

Haraldr alludes to his ongoing state of war with Sveinn Úlfsson of Denmark and to his earlier service in the Varangian army fighting the Saracens.



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: Haraldr Sigurðarson harðráði, Lausavísur 15: AI, 359, BI, 331, Skald I, 167, NN §§806, 847A, 1902, 2026; Mork 1867, 101, Mork 1928-32, 248, Andersson and Gade 2000, 253, 479 (MH); Flat 1860-8, III, 377 (MH); Fms 6, 385 (HSig ch. 108); F 1871, 255 (HSig).


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