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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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RvHbreiðm Hl 70III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 70’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1079.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr ÞórarinssonHáttalykill

text and translation

Guðr vas, en grams niðr,
(gekk herr berjask)
flótta, þars fell drótt,
(fúss) trauðr, kvik, dauð.
Þótti þar ulfs ætt,
(ǫrva gerðisk hríð snǫr)
eigi vas fleins flaug,
full, svǫng, skǫmm (lǫng).

Guðr vas kvik, en {niðr grams} trauðr flótta; herr gekk fúss berjask, þars dauð drótt fell. Svǫng ætt ulfs þótti þar full; {snǫr hríð ǫrva} gerðisk lǫng; {flaug fleins} vas eigi skǫmm.
‘The battle was lively and the kinsman of the lord [= Knútr] reluctant to flee; the army went eager to fight where the dead retinue fell. The hungry family of the wolf seemed sated there; the swift storm of arrows [BATTLE] became long; the flight of the spear [BATTLE] was not short.

notes and context

As st. 69 above, but only ll. 4 and 8 are alhnept ‘completely curtailed’. Lines 1, 3, 5-7 are hálfhneppt ‘half-curtailed’ or náhent ‘close-rhymed’ (SnSt Ht 77, 75) and l. 2 is stúfhent ‘stump-rhymed’ or náhent (Ht 74-5). See also sts 23-4, 29-30 and 49-50.

The antitheses occur in the following words: fúss ‘eager’ : trauðr ‘reluctant’; kvik ‘lively’ : dauð ‘dead’ (l. 4);  full ‘sated’ : svǫng ‘hungry’; skǫmm ‘short’ : lǫng ‘long’ (l. 8). Reassignment of the adjectives again results in a rather scathing satire (i.e. ‘and the kinsman of the lord eager to flee’, ll. 1, 3, 4; ‘the army went reluctant to fight’, ll. 2, 4; ‘the sated family of the wolf seemed hungry there’, ll. 5, 8; ‘the swift storm of arrows became short’, ll. 6, 8; ‘the flight of the spear was not long’, ll. 7, 8). See Note to st. 55 [All]. — [1-4]: Skj B and Skald follow the text of R683ˣ, and their reconstruction of the first helmingr is incorrect and will not be discussed here.



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 35b: AI, 525-6, BI, 505, Skald I, 248, NN §§1165, 2081, 2540C; Hl 1941, 32, 90.


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