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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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RvHbreiðm Hl 41III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 41’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1049.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr ÞórarinssonHáttalykill

text and translation

Hringr brast; hjoggusk drengir;
hjalmr gnast; bitu malmar;
rǫnd skar; rekkar týndusk;
ruðusk sverð; hnigu ferðir.
Brandr reið; blœddu undir;
ben sullu; spjǫr gullu;
brast hjǫrr; brynjur lestusk;
beit skjómi; dreif sveita.

Hringr brast; drengir hjoggusk; hjalmr gnast; malmar bitu; skar rǫnd; rekkar týndusk; sverð ruðusk; ferðir hnigu. Brandr reið; undir blœddu; ben sullu; spjǫr gullu; hjǫrr brast; brynjur lestusk; skjómi beit; dreif sveita.
‘A sword crashed; warriors exchanged blows; a helmet cracked; weapons bit; a shield-rim was cut; warriors died; swords were reddened; companies fell. A blade swung; gashes bled; wounds swelled; spears resounded; a sword crashed; byrnies were damaged; a sword bit; there was a blizzard of blood.

notes and context

The heading is sextánmælt (‘Sextanmælt’) ‘sixteen-times spoken’, a dróttkvætt stanza that contains sixteen clauses with two clauses per line (cf. SnSt Ht 9).

In the corpus of skaldic poetry, there are examples of dróttkvætt lines containing two independent clauses as here, but this syntactic peculiarity never occurs systematically as in this stanza and in Ht 9. Holtsmark (Hl 1941, 127) adduces Latin models. — Although it does not emerge from the present version, the hero commemorated must be Hringr Randvésson, King of Sweden, the nephew of Haraldr hilditǫnn ‘War-tooth’ and his opponent at the battle of Brávellir (see sts 39-40 above; ÍF 35, 58-78; Saxo 2005, I, 7, 10, 11, pp. 498-9, 7, 11, 12-13, 12, 2, pp. 506-9, 8, 1, 1-5, 1, pp. 510-23, 8, 7, 3-4, pp. 526-9). — [5-8]: Some of the clauses in this helmingr have close parallels in SnSt Ht 9/5-8: brandr reið ‘a sword was swung’ (l. 5), spjǫr gullu ‘spears resounded’ (l. 6), brynjur lestusk ‘byrnies were damaged’ (l. 7); cf. brandr gellr ‘the blade resounds’ (Ht 9/7), spjǫr braka ‘spears crash’ (Ht 9/8), brynjur sundrask ‘byrnies are sundered’ (Ht 9/7).



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 21a: AI, 520, BI, 497, Skald I, 244, NN §2074; Hl 1941, 26, 70.


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