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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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RvHbreiðm Hl 29III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 29’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1038.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr ÞórarinssonHáttalykill

text and translation

Hǫrðu réð Hagbarðr
— hvatir leyfa menn þat —
aldrklifs epli*;
ýta vas sá gramr nýtr.
Mýll gerðit margsnills
morðalfs skjalfa
í geira glymskúr
geðvangs strangri.

Hagbarðr réð {hǫrðu epli* {aldrklifs}}; hvatir menn leyfa þat; {sá gramr ýta} vas nýtr. {Mýll {geðvangs}} {margsnills morðalfs} gerðit skjalfa í {strangri glymskúr geira}.
‘Hagbarðr commanded a hard apple of the life-cliff [BREAST > HEART]; keen men praise that; that lord of the people [RULER] was capable. The stone of the mind-meadow [BREAST > HEART] of the deeply wise battle-elf [WARRIOR] did not tremble in the strong din-shower of spears [BATTLE].

notes and context

The heading is háhent (‘Ha̋ hent’) ‘high-rhymed’, which must be a misreading of náhent ‘close-rhymed’ (SnSt Ht 75). The metre resembles that of sts 23-4 above. In Snorri’s more regularised variant, the odd lines consist of 4-5 syllables, have skothending and end in a long monosyllable carrying internal rhyme. The even lines have 4 syllables (two long syllables followed by a long plus a short syllable) and aðalhending in positions 2 and 3. In the present stanza, ll. 1 and 5 correspond to Snorri’s náhent or hálfhnept ‘half-curtailed’ (Ht 77), ll. 6 and 8 are náhent or stúfhent ‘stump-rhymed’ (Ht 74), l. 3 is stúfhent and structered similarly to even náhent lines, while ll. 2, 4 and 7 are hálfhnept.

For the concept of a ‘hard’ heroic heart, which permeates this stanza and the next, see Note to Anon Mhkv 7/1. See also st. 37/3 below. — Hagbarðr was a legendary Danish king and the brother of Haki (see sts 27-8 above). He is famous as the lover of Signý, the daughter of King Sigarr, who hanged Hagbarðr on account of that relationship (see Saxo 2005, I, 7, 7, 3-17, pp. 464-77). — [5-6]: Following most earlier eds, margsnill ‘deeply wise’ (f. nom. sg. or n. nom./acc. pl.) and morðalf ‘battle-elf’ (m. acc. sg.) have been emended to margsnills morðalfs (gen. sg.) as a gen. attribute to mýll geðvangs ‘stone of the mind-meadow’ (ll. 5, 8).



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: Rǫgnvaldr jarl og Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 15a: AI, 517, BI, 494, Skald I, 242, NN §§2073, 3117; Hl 1941, 24, 64.


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