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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 kannk átta:
Yggs fetk líð at smíða;
fœrr emk hvasst á hesti;
hefk sund numit stundum.
Skríða kannk á skíðum;
skýtk ok rœk, svát nýtir;
hvártveggja kannk hyggja
harpslôtt ok bragþôttu.

Kannk átta íþróttir: fetk at smíða {líð Yggs}; emk fœrr hvasst á hesti; hefk numit sund stundum. Kannk skríða á skíðum; skýtk ok rœk, svát nýtir; kannk hyggja hvártveggja harpslôtt ok bragþôttu.

I have eight accomplishments: I forge {Yggr’s <= Óðinn’s> drink} [POETRY]; I am skilled at travelling swiftly on horseback; I have practised swimming on occasion. I can glide on skis; I shoot and row well enough; I can comprehend both harp-playing and poems.

Mss: Mork(3r) (Mork); H(28v), Hr(21ra) (H-Hr)

Readings: [2] Yggs: ‘ygs’ all    [7] hvártveggja kannk hyggja: abbrev. as ‘þo læ. ger. igor.’ H, ‘þo lætr g. i. g.’ Hr    [8] harpslôtt ok bragþôttu: abbrev. as ‘goll. við mer sk’ H, abbrev. as ‘g. við mer skolla’ Hr

Editions: Skald I, 166 (ll. 1-4), 235 (ll. 5-8), NN §§2203B, 2989B; Mork 1867, 15, Mork 1928-32, 86, Andersson and Gade 2000, 149, 473 (MH); Fms 6, 170 (HSig ch. 15).

Notes: [All]: 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. — [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. — [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. — [5-8]: Duplicate Rv Lv 1/5-8. — [6] svá at nýtir ‘well enough’: Lit. ‘so that it is beneficial’. — [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).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. Andersson, Theodore M. and Kari Ellen Gade, trans. 2000. Morkinskinna: The Earliest Icelandic Chronicle of the Norwegian Kings (1030-1157). Islandica 51. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
  8. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  9. Mork 1928-32 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1928-32. Morkinskinna. SUGNL 53. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  10. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  11. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  12. Jesch, Judith. 2006a. The Nine Skills of Earl Rögnvaldr of Orkney. Inaugural Lecture delivered in the University of Nottingham 1 March 2006. Occasional Papers of the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age 3. University of Nottingham: Centre for the Study of the Viking Age.
  13. Mork 1867 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1867. Morkinskinna: Pergamentsbog fra første halvdel af det trettende aarhundrede. Indeholdende en af de ældste optegnelser af norske kongesagaer. Oslo: Bentzen.
  14. Nedrelid, Gudlaug. 1997. ‘‘Kor mange kunstar kunne kong Harald?’’. In Sagas and the Norwegian Experience / Sagaene og Noreg. Preprints. 10th International Saga Conference, 501-10.
  15. Internal references
  16. Not published: do not cite (HSigII)
  17. Not published: do not cite (MHII)
  18. Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson, Lausavísur 1’ 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. 576-7.
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