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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
686970

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.

Mss: papp25ˣ(40r), R683ˣ(133r)

Readings: [4] hvít*: hvítt papp25ˣ, R683ˣ    [5] Bargsk: ‘barsc’ papp25ˣ, R683ˣ;    ǫld: ‘òrld’ R683ˣ    [6] rann: rauð papp25ˣ, R683ˣ    [7] hjalm‑: halm‑ R683ˣ

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

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).

Notes: [All]: 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]. — [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). — [2] hlífð ‘shield’: For this word, see Note to st. 39/6. The clause hvít hlífð gnast ‘the white shield cracked’ also occurs in that stanza (ll. 6, 8). See also sts 42/6, 74/2 and 76/5. — [4] hvít* (f. nom. sg.) ‘white’: Hvítt (n. nom. or acc. sg.) ‘white’ has been emended to hvít (f. nom. sg.) because the adj. qualifies hlífð (f. nom. sg.) ‘shield’ (l. 2). For the possible spelling <tt> for <t> in final position, see Note to st. 39/8. — [5] bargsk ‘saved themselves’: The mss. have ‘barsc’ which can be normalised as barsk (inf. berask) ‘befell’. This appears to be an instance of loss of medial [g], however (see Hl 1941, 113). The line is repeated as l. 5 in st. 77, which contains the word bargsk (‘bargs’) in this very position in an identical clause (bargsk ǫld ‘people saved themselves’). — [6] benskóð ‘wound-weapon [SWORD]’: This noun is n., and according to the adj. it is qualified by, breið ‘broad’ (l. 8), it should be n. pl. or f. sg. However, the verb beit ‘bit’ (l. 5) is in the sg. Skj B suggests an impersonal construction (beit skjǫld ‘the shield was bitten’), but the verb bíta is otherwise not attested in impersonal constructions, and, furthermore, st. 77/5-6 contains an almost identical clause: þuðr brandr beit skjǫld ‘the slender sword bit the shield’. Holtsmark (Hl 1941) emends beit (3rd pers. sg. pret. indic.) to bitu (3rd pers. pl. pret. indic.), which results in an unmetrical line (resolution in position 3). It is possible that skóð ‘weapon’ could have had a variant f. form (see bráð ‘haste’ st. 66/3). — [6] rann (3rd pers. sg. pret. indic.) ‘ran’: Both mss have rauð (3rd pers. sg.  pret. indic.) ‘reddened’. If that reading is retained, the verb needs an object, and, following Sveinbjörn Egilsson (SnE 1848, 246), Skj B construes þjóð rauð benskóð ‘people reddened the wound-weapon’ (so also Skald). That line is suspect because it contains three internal rhymes, and Holtsmark (Hl 1941) emends to the intransitive rann ‘ran’ in accordance with st. 78/5. Her emendation has been adopted in the present edn. — [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. — [8] ‘noble’: Lit. ‘high’. The vowel ([o:]) is apparently ensured by internal rhyme (see ANG §98.2), but it is also possible (and perhaps more likely) that both rhyme words had the vowel [a:] ( ‘noble’ and mjá ‘slender’; see Finnur Jónsson 1901, 69).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. SnE 1848 = Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1848. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar, eða Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál og Háttatal. Reykjavík: Prentsmiðja landsins.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  7. Finnur Jónsson. 1901. Det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog omtr. 800-1300. SUGNL 28. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. ÍF 35 = Danakonunga sǫgur. Ed. Bjarni Guðnason. 1982.
  9. Hl 1941 = Jón Helgason and Anne Holtsmark, eds. 1941. Háttalykill enn forni. BA 1. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  10. SkP I = Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Ed. Diana Whaley. 2012.
  11. Internal references
  12. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Biography of) Óláfr Tryggvason’ 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. 383.
  13. Matthew Townend 2017, ‘ Hallvarðr háreksblesi, Knútsdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 230. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1246> (accessed 27 September 2021)
  14. Matthew Townend 2012, ‘ Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa’ 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. 767. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1341> (accessed 27 September 2021)
  15. Matthew Townend 2012, ‘ Sigvatr Þórðarson, Knútsdrápa’ 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. 649. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1356> (accessed 27 September 2021)
  16. Matthew Townend 2012, ‘ Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa’ 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. 851. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1454> (accessed 27 September 2021)
  17. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 75’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1186.
  18. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 78’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1189.
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