Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.



Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

RvHbreiðm Hl 39III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 39’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1047.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr ÞórarinssonHáttalykill

text and translation

Harald frák gunni gerva;
Geri varð, þars lið barðisk,
— môr kom sigrs til sára
svangr — fullr, þars spjǫr gullu,
þvít, grástóði gríða
gnast hlífð, en brá fǫstu,
(hjaldrgǫgl nutu hildar)
hvít* (svǫrt) í dyn rítar.

Frák Harald gerva gunni; Geri varð fullr, þars lið barðisk; {svangr môr sigrs} kom til sára, þars spjǫr gullu, þvít hvít* hlífð gnast, en brá fǫstu {grástóði gríða} í {dyn rítar}; {svǫrt hjaldrgǫgl} nutu hildar.
‘I heard that Haraldr waged war; Geri <wolf> became sated where the troop fought; the hungry seagull of battle [RAVEN/EAGLE] came to wounds where spears resounded, because the white shield cracked, and the fast ended for the grey stud-horses of troll-women [WOLVES] in the din of the shield [BATTLE]; black battle-goslings [RAVENS] benefited from the fight.

notes and context

The heading is refrún in minni (‘Redrun hin minnj’) ‘the lesser fox-secret’ and the metre corresponds to that of SnSt Ht 22 (in minnstu refhvǫrf ‘the least fox-turns’). It is a variant of dróttkvætt which is characterised by antithesis, that is, by the juxtaposition at the beginning of ll. 4 and 8 of two words, usually of the same grammatical form, with opposite meanings (cf. Ht 17-23 and sts 55-6, 69-70 below).

In this stanza, the antithesis consists of the words svangr ‘hungry’ : fullr ‘full’ (l. 4) and hvít ‘white’ : svǫrt ‘black’ (l. 8). Aside from the stanzas in Hl and Ht which exemplify such antitheses (Hl 39-40, 55-6, 69-70; Ht 17-23), this particular verse-form is not otherwise attested in Old Norse poetry. Holtsmark (Hl 1941, 124-5) argues that it may have been modelled on Latin school exercises (antithetum, contrapositio; for examples, see Holtsmark loc. cit.). See also de Vries (1938, 717-18, 733). For a discussion of the term refrún, see Note to st. 55 [All]. — Haraldr must be the Danish legendary king Haraldr hilditǫnn ‘War-tooth’ Hrœreksson (Saxo: Hálfdanarson), the nephew of Helgi Hálfdanarson (sts 37-8) and the uncle of Hringr Randvésson (sts 41-2). He was killed at the epic battle of Brávellir, which he fought against his nephew Hringr (see ÍF 35, 49-70 and Saxo 2005, I, 7, 10, 1-11, 1, pp. 492-9, 7, 11, 13-12, 2, pp. 506-9, 8, 1, 1-5, 1, pp. 510-23).



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 20a: AI, 519, BI, 496, Skald I, 244, NN §§1160, 3197C; Hl 1941, 25, 68-9.


Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.


Stanza/chapter/text segment

Use the buttons at the top of the page to navigate between stanzas in a poem.

Information tab

Interactive tab

The text and translation are given here, with buttons to toggle whether the text is shown in the verse order or prose word order. Clicking on indiviudal words gives dictionary links, variant readings, kennings and notes, where relevant.

Full text tab

This is the text of the edition in a similar format to how the edition appears in the printed volumes.

Chapter/text segment

This view is also used for chapters and other text segments. Not all the headings shown are relevant to such sections.