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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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RvHbreiðm Hl 69III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 69’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1078.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr ÞórarinssonHáttalykill

text and translation

Knútr sásk, — herr hjósk —
hlífð gnast, rǫnd brast,
— guðr svall — folk fell,
fátt, mart, hvít*, svǫrt.
Bargsk ǫld, (beit skjǫld
benskóð) rann þjóð,
hvasst flugu hjalmreyr
hó, lôg (breið) mjó.

Knútr sásk fátt; herr hjósk; hvít* hlífð gnast; svǫrt rǫnd brast; guðr svall; mart folk fell. Hó ǫld bargsk; {breið benskóð} beit skjǫld; lôg þjóð rann; {mjó hjalmreyr} flugu hvasst.
‘Knútr feared little; the army exchanged blows; the white shield cracked; the black shield-rim crashed; battle increased; many men fell. Noble people saved themselves; the broad wound-weapon [SWORD] bit the shield; ignoble people ran; slender helmet-reeds [ARROWS] flew violently.

notes and context

In papp25ˣ this stanza follows st. 82 below, and the caption is Horum nomina desunt ‘The names of these are missing’ (Inscriptio deest ‘The title is missing’, R683ˣ). The metre is not named, but it corresponds roughly to SnSt Ht 78 (alhnept ‘completly curtailed’). Each line has 4 syllables; the odd lines have skothending and the even lines aðalhending. The last internal rhyme in each line falls on the final syllable. Unlike in Ht 78, ll. 4 and 8 contain refrún ‘fox-secret’ (see sts 39-40, 55-6 above).

The antitheses consist of the following words: fátt lit. ‘few’ : mart ‘many’; hvít ‘white’ : svǫrt ‘black’ (l. 4); ‘noble’ : lôg ‘ignoble’; breið ‘broad’ : mjó ‘slender’ (l. 8). If the adjectives are assigned to different clauses, the sense of the clauses is reversed (e.g. ‘Knútr feared many [things]’, ll. 1, 4; ‘few men fell’, ll. 3-4; ‘ignoble people saved themselves’, ll. 5, 8; ‘noble people ran’, ll. 6, 8). See Note to st. 55 [All]. — Knútr is Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great) Sveinsson, king of Denmark and England (d. 1035) and, in effect, king of Norway 1029-35 (see ÍF 35, 100-27, Hallv Knútdr, Ótt KnútdrI, Sigv KnútdrI, Þloft TøgdrI and his Biography in SkP I). By placing Knútr after his father Sveinn, the poets break the chronology of Norwegian rulers, skipping Óláfr Tryggvason and Óláfr Haraldsson (commemorated in sts 71-2 and 73-4, respectively). — [7]: This line has no internal rhyme, and it is structured differently than the other lines of this stanza, which leads to the suspicion that the second helmingr is garbled.



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 35a: AI, 525, BI, 504, Skald I, 247, NN §§1164, 2540C; Hl 1941, 31-2, 89.


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