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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hharð Gamv 4II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson, Gamanvísur 4’ 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. 39-40.

Haraldr harðráði SigurðarsonGamanvísur
345

Íþróttir ‘accomplishments’

íþrótt (noun f.): skill, accomplishment

notes

[1] átta íþróttir ‘eight accomplishments’: According to the st., Haraldr’s eight accomplishments are the following: poetic composition, horseback riding, swimming, skiing, shooting, rowing, and the ability to comprehend (and appreciate) both harp-playing and poetry. Some scholars maintain that the st. only enumerates seven accomplishments (see the summary in Nedrelid 1997), which is difficult to understand. See Note to ll. 7-8 below.

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átta ‘eight’

átta (num. cardinal): eight

notes

[1] átta íþróttir ‘eight accomplishments’: According to the st., Haraldr’s eight accomplishments are the following: poetic composition, horseback riding, swimming, skiing, shooting, rowing, and the ability to comprehend (and appreciate) both harp-playing and poetry. Some scholars maintain that the st. only enumerates seven accomplishments (see the summary in Nedrelid 1997), which is difficult to understand. See Note to ll. 7-8 below.

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Yggs ‘Yggr’s’

1. Yggr (noun m.): Yggr

[2] Yggs: ‘ygs’ all

kennings

líð Yggs;
‘Yggr’s drink; ’
   = POETRY

Yggr’s drink; → POETRY
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fetk ‘’

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líð ‘drink’

líð (noun n.): drink

kennings

líð Yggs;
‘Yggr’s drink; ’
   = POETRY

Yggr’s drink; → POETRY
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smíða ‘forge’

smíða (verb): craft

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fœrr ‘am skilled at travelling’

fœrr (adj.): capable

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hefk ‘I have’

hafa (verb): have

notes

[4] hefk numit sund stundum ‘I have practised swimming on occasion’: The verb nema means ‘learn, acquire’ (cf. LP: nema). However, one can only learn how to swim once, and nema in the present context would seem to mean ‘practise, undertake’ rather than ‘learn’ (see NN §§2203B, 2989B). See also Fritzner: nema 1.

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sund ‘swimming’

sund (noun n.; °-s; -): sound, strait; swimming

notes

[4] hefk numit sund stundum ‘I have practised swimming on occasion’: The verb nema means ‘learn, acquire’ (cf. LP: nema). However, one can only learn how to swim once, and nema in the present context would seem to mean ‘practise, undertake’ rather than ‘learn’ (see NN §§2203B, 2989B). See also Fritzner: nema 1.

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numit ‘practised’

1. nema (verb): to take

notes

[4] hefk numit sund stundum ‘I have practised swimming on occasion’: The verb nema means ‘learn, acquire’ (cf. LP: nema). However, one can only learn how to swim once, and nema in the present context would seem to mean ‘practise, undertake’ rather than ‘learn’ (see NN §§2203B, 2989B). See also Fritzner: nema 1.

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stundum ‘on occasion’

stundum (adv.): at times, sometimes

notes

[4] hefk numit sund stundum ‘I have practised swimming on occasion’: The verb nema means ‘learn, acquire’ (cf. LP: nema). However, one can only learn how to swim once, and nema in the present context would seem to mean ‘practise, undertake’ rather than ‘learn’ (see NN §§2203B, 2989B). See also Fritzner: nema 1.

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skýtk ‘I shoot’

skjóta (verb): shoot

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nýtir ‘well enough’

njóta (verb): enjoy, use

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hvártveggja ‘both’

hvárrtveggi (pron.): both

[7] hvártveggja kannk hyggja: abbrev. as ‘þo læ. ger. igor.’ H, ‘þo lætr g. i. g.’ Hr

notes

[7-8] kannk hyggja hvártveggja harpslôtt ok bragþôttu ‘I can comprehend both harp-playing and poems’: For hyggja in the sense ‘comprehend, understand’, see Heggstad, Hødnebø and Simensen 1997: hyggja 3, as well as LP: hyggja 7, which cites Rv Lv 1/7 as an example. Hence the poetry (líð Yggs ‘Yggr’s drink’) that Haraldr forges in the first helmingr refers to his own ability to compose, whereas the poems (bragþættir) mentioned in the second is the poetry composed by others, which Haraldr, who on numerous occasions demonstrates that he is a connoisseur of the art of skaldic poetry, is able to interpret, appreciate and judge. Finnur Jónsson’s translation in Skj B (of Rv Lv 1/7-8), jeg forstår at slå harpen og lægge en vise ‘I understand how to play the harp and arrange a stanza’ implies that Haraldr is the one who has an active command of both harp-playing and poetic composition, thus duplicating one of the accomplishments mentioned in the first half-st. (see Note to l. 1 above).

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kannk ‘I can’

3. kanna (verb): know, be able

[7] hvártveggja kannk hyggja: abbrev. as ‘þo læ. ger. igor.’ H, ‘þo lætr g. i. g.’ Hr

notes

[7-8] kannk hyggja hvártveggja harpslôtt ok bragþôttu ‘I can comprehend both harp-playing and poems’: For hyggja in the sense ‘comprehend, understand’, see Heggstad, Hødnebø and Simensen 1997: hyggja 3, as well as LP: hyggja 7, which cites Rv Lv 1/7 as an example. Hence the poetry (líð Yggs ‘Yggr’s drink’) that Haraldr forges in the first helmingr refers to his own ability to compose, whereas the poems (bragþættir) mentioned in the second is the poetry composed by others, which Haraldr, who on numerous occasions demonstrates that he is a connoisseur of the art of skaldic poetry, is able to interpret, appreciate and judge. Finnur Jónsson’s translation in Skj B (of Rv Lv 1/7-8), jeg forstår at slå harpen og lægge en vise ‘I understand how to play the harp and arrange a stanza’ implies that Haraldr is the one who has an active command of both harp-playing and poetic composition, thus duplicating one of the accomplishments mentioned in the first half-st. (see Note to l. 1 above).

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hyggja ‘comprehend’

2. hyggja (verb): think, consider

[7] hvártveggja kannk hyggja: abbrev. as ‘þo læ. ger. igor.’ H, ‘þo lætr g. i. g.’ Hr

notes

[7-8] kannk hyggja hvártveggja harpslôtt ok bragþôttu ‘I can comprehend both harp-playing and poems’: For hyggja in the sense ‘comprehend, understand’, see Heggstad, Hødnebø and Simensen 1997: hyggja 3, as well as LP: hyggja 7, which cites Rv Lv 1/7 as an example. Hence the poetry (líð Yggs ‘Yggr’s drink’) that Haraldr forges in the first helmingr refers to his own ability to compose, whereas the poems (bragþættir) mentioned in the second is the poetry composed by others, which Haraldr, who on numerous occasions demonstrates that he is a connoisseur of the art of skaldic poetry, is able to interpret, appreciate and judge. Finnur Jónsson’s translation in Skj B (of Rv Lv 1/7-8), jeg forstår at slå harpen og lægge en vise ‘I understand how to play the harp and arrange a stanza’ implies that Haraldr is the one who has an active command of both harp-playing and poetic composition, thus duplicating one of the accomplishments mentioned in the first half-st. (see Note to l. 1 above).

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harp ‘harp’

1. harpa (noun f.; °*-u; *-ur): [a harp, harp] < harpsláttr (noun m.): [harp-playing]

[8] harpslôtt ok bragþôttu: abbrev. as ‘goll. við mer sk’ H, abbrev. as ‘g. við mer skolla’ Hr

notes

[7-8] kannk hyggja hvártveggja harpslôtt ok bragþôttu ‘I can comprehend both harp-playing and poems’: For hyggja in the sense ‘comprehend, understand’, see Heggstad, Hødnebø and Simensen 1997: hyggja 3, as well as LP: hyggja 7, which cites Rv Lv 1/7 as an example. Hence the poetry (líð Yggs ‘Yggr’s drink’) that Haraldr forges in the first helmingr refers to his own ability to compose, whereas the poems (bragþættir) mentioned in the second is the poetry composed by others, which Haraldr, who on numerous occasions demonstrates that he is a connoisseur of the art of skaldic poetry, is able to interpret, appreciate and judge. Finnur Jónsson’s translation in Skj B (of Rv Lv 1/7-8), jeg forstår at slå harpen og lægge en vise ‘I understand how to play the harp and arrange a stanza’ implies that Haraldr is the one who has an active command of both harp-playing and poetic composition, thus duplicating one of the accomplishments mentioned in the first half-st. (see Note to l. 1 above).

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slôtt ‘playing’

sláttr (noun m.; °-ar, dat. slǽtti/slátt): [playing] < harpsláttr (noun m.): [harp-playing]

[8] harpslôtt ok bragþôttu: abbrev. as ‘goll. við mer sk’ H, abbrev. as ‘g. við mer skolla’ Hr

notes

[7-8] kannk hyggja hvártveggja harpslôtt ok bragþôttu ‘I can comprehend both harp-playing and poems’: For hyggja in the sense ‘comprehend, understand’, see Heggstad, Hødnebø and Simensen 1997: hyggja 3, as well as LP: hyggja 7, which cites Rv Lv 1/7 as an example. Hence the poetry (líð Yggs ‘Yggr’s drink’) that Haraldr forges in the first helmingr refers to his own ability to compose, whereas the poems (bragþættir) mentioned in the second is the poetry composed by others, which Haraldr, who on numerous occasions demonstrates that he is a connoisseur of the art of skaldic poetry, is able to interpret, appreciate and judge. Finnur Jónsson’s translation in Skj B (of Rv Lv 1/7-8), jeg forstår at slå harpen og lægge en vise ‘I understand how to play the harp and arrange a stanza’ implies that Haraldr is the one who has an active command of both harp-playing and poetic composition, thus duplicating one of the accomplishments mentioned in the first half-st. (see Note to l. 1 above).

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ok ‘and’

3. ok (conj.): and, but; also

[8] harpslôtt ok bragþôttu: abbrev. as ‘goll. við mer sk’ H, abbrev. as ‘g. við mer skolla’ Hr

notes

[7-8] kannk hyggja hvártveggja harpslôtt ok bragþôttu ‘I can comprehend both harp-playing and poems’: For hyggja in the sense ‘comprehend, understand’, see Heggstad, Hødnebø and Simensen 1997: hyggja 3, as well as LP: hyggja 7, which cites Rv Lv 1/7 as an example. Hence the poetry (líð Yggs ‘Yggr’s drink’) that Haraldr forges in the first helmingr refers to his own ability to compose, whereas the poems (bragþættir) mentioned in the second is the poetry composed by others, which Haraldr, who on numerous occasions demonstrates that he is a connoisseur of the art of skaldic poetry, is able to interpret, appreciate and judge. Finnur Jónsson’s translation in Skj B (of Rv Lv 1/7-8), jeg forstår at slå harpen og lægge en vise ‘I understand how to play the harp and arrange a stanza’ implies that Haraldr is the one who has an active command of both harp-playing and poetic composition, thus duplicating one of the accomplishments mentioned in the first half-st. (see Note to l. 1 above).

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brag ‘poems’

bragr (noun m.; °-ar): poem, poetry < bragþáttr (noun m.): strand of praise, poem

[8] harpslôtt ok bragþôttu: abbrev. as ‘goll. við mer sk’ H, abbrev. as ‘g. við mer skolla’ Hr

notes

[7-8] kannk hyggja hvártveggja harpslôtt ok bragþôttu ‘I can comprehend both harp-playing and poems’: For hyggja in the sense ‘comprehend, understand’, see Heggstad, Hødnebø and Simensen 1997: hyggja 3, as well as LP: hyggja 7, which cites Rv Lv 1/7 as an example. Hence the poetry (líð Yggs ‘Yggr’s drink’) that Haraldr forges in the first helmingr refers to his own ability to compose, whereas the poems (bragþættir) mentioned in the second is the poetry composed by others, which Haraldr, who on numerous occasions demonstrates that he is a connoisseur of the art of skaldic poetry, is able to interpret, appreciate and judge. Finnur Jónsson’s translation in Skj B (of Rv Lv 1/7-8), jeg forstår at slå harpen og lægge en vise ‘I understand how to play the harp and arrange a stanza’ implies that Haraldr is the one who has an active command of both harp-playing and poetic composition, thus duplicating one of the accomplishments mentioned in the first half-st. (see Note to l. 1 above).

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þôttu ‘’

þáttr (noun m.; °dat. þǽtti; þǽttir, acc. þáttu): strand, tale < bragþáttr (noun m.): strand of praise, poem

[8] harpslôtt ok bragþôttu: abbrev. as ‘goll. við mer sk’ H, abbrev. as ‘g. við mer skolla’ Hr

notes

[7-8] kannk hyggja hvártveggja harpslôtt ok bragþôttu ‘I can comprehend both harp-playing and poems’: For hyggja in the sense ‘comprehend, understand’, see Heggstad, Hødnebø and Simensen 1997: hyggja 3, as well as LP: hyggja 7, which cites Rv Lv 1/7 as an example. Hence the poetry (líð Yggs ‘Yggr’s drink’) that Haraldr forges in the first helmingr refers to his own ability to compose, whereas the poems (bragþættir) mentioned in the second is the poetry composed by others, which Haraldr, who on numerous occasions demonstrates that he is a connoisseur of the art of skaldic poetry, is able to interpret, appreciate and judge. Finnur Jónsson’s translation in Skj B (of Rv Lv 1/7-8), jeg forstår at slå harpen og lægge en vise ‘I understand how to play the harp and arrange a stanza’ implies that Haraldr is the one who has an active command of both harp-playing and poetic composition, thus duplicating one of the accomplishments mentioned in the first half-st. (see Note to l. 1 above).

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In Mork this is the only jesting verse without refrain. H and Hr add the refrain to conform to the prose text, which states that the sts all end in the same way (ok eitt niðrlag at öllum, Fms 6, 169; so also ÍF 28, 89; ÍF 29, 237). Because this entails omitting two of Haraldr’s eight accomplishments, it hardly represents the original version. For the boasting of such feats, see Jesch 2006. — [5-8]: Duplicate Rv Lv 1/5-8. — [6] svá at nýtir ‘well enough’: Lit. ‘so that it is beneficial’.

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