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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ólhelg Lv 1I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Óláfr inn helgi Haraldsson, Lausavísur 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. 517.

Óláfr inn helgi HaraldssonLausavísur

text and translation

Fyll horn, kona;         fell af hesti
Rannveigar sonr,         þars riðu drengir.
Kunnut Sygnir         á sǫðuldýrum
fullvel fara;         fœr mér ok þér.

Fyll horn, kona; {sonr Rannveigar} fell af hesti, þars drengir riðu. Sygnir kunnut fara fullvel á {sǫðuldýrum}; fœr mér ok þér.
‘Fill the horn, woman; Rannveig’s son [= Halldórr] fell from his horse where the fine fellows were riding. The Sygnir do not know how to travel very well on saddle-beasts [HORSES]; bring [it] to me and to you.

notes and context

The young Óláfr goes hunting in a forest. With him rides a man from Sogn called Halldórr Rannveigarson, who falls from his horse. That evening, as drinks are served (by Óláfr’s mother Ásta in person in 61, or by a courteous serving-woman in the Bæb transcripts 73aˣ, 71ˣ and 76aˣ), Óláfr speaks the stanza. Halldórr then retorts with a stanza (HalldR Lv) about an alleged prank on Óláfr’s part, when he saddled up a goat instead of a horse for his stepfather, Sigurðr sýr ‘Sow’. The stanza exchange is set in the forest in Flat.

Lines 1 and 8 are syntactically separate from the remainder of the stanza. They place the stanza in the context of a drinking session, in conflict with the Flat narrative (see Context). It is conceivable that the stanza, along with HalldR Lv, may have belonged to a more extensive set of stanzas in the genre of mannjafnaðr ‘comparison of men’ or senna ‘flyting, contest of insults’ (Clover 1979; Clover 1980), in which rivals competed for the attention of a woman presiding over the drinking-horn.



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: Óláfr Haraldsson enn helgi, Lausavísur 1: AI, 220, BI, 210, Skald I, 109-10; Fms 4, 36, ÓH 1941, II, 742-3, Flat 1860-8, II, 13.


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