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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hjǫrtr Lv 1II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Hjǫrtr, 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. 344-6.


text and translation

Þrøngvir gulli
gramr fast saman;
veitir Sýrar
sonr fáskonar.
Land skyldi lítit
laf-Hamðir hafa;
þá myndi hauldum
Haraldr svara.

Gramr þrøngvir gulli fast saman; {sonr Sýrar} veitir fáskonar. Laf-Hamðir skyldi hafa lítit land; þá myndi Haraldr svara hauldum.
‘The ruler gathers gold forcefully; Sýr’s son [= Haraldr] gives away little. Laf-Hamðir (‘Slouch-Hamðir’) should get little land; then Haraldr might answer the men.

notes and context

Upon their return from Russia, Hjǫrtr and his fellow travellers go before King Haraldr and greet him, but the king is too busy talking to Tostig Godwineson (Tósti) to pay any attention to them. Hjǫrtr then recites this st. to comment on the situation.

[5-6]: Although syntactically transparent, the sense of these two ll. is obscure. The identity of ‘laf-Hamðir’ is not clear, and the interpretation depends on the meaning of the verb hafa ‘get, possess’. See the discussion below.



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: Hjǫrtr, Lausavísur 1: AI, 403, BI, 372, Skald I, 185; Hb 1892-6, 331-2, Fellows Jensen 1962, 38 (Hem).


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