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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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RvHbreiðm Hl 75III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 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. 1085.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr ÞórarinssonHáttalykill

text and translation

Mætr rauð Magnús hneiti;
mildr fylkir vann hildi;
snjallr gerði styr stillir;
stóð ógn af gram þjóðar.
Dunðu dǫrr á brynju;
drótt hilmis rak flótta;
egg brast hǫrð í hǫggvi;
hjǫrr beit … gǫrva.

Mætr Magnús rauð hneiti; mildr fylkir vann hildi; snjallr stillir gerði styr; ógn stóð af {gram þjóðar}. Dǫrr dunðu á brynju; drótt hilmis rak flótta; hǫrð egg brast í hǫggvi; hjǫrr beit … gǫrva.
‘Splendid Magnús reddened the sword; the generous leader waged war; the clever prince caused battle; terror exuded from the lord of the people [RULER]. Spears resounded against the byrnie; the ruler’s retinue pursued those who fled; the hard edge burst as it struck; the sword bit … thoroughly.

notes and context

The caption is áttmælt (‘Attmælt’) ‘eight-times spoken’ (cf. SnSt Ht 10). The metre is dróttkvætt, and each line forms an independent clause.

As with sextánmælt ‘sixteen-times spoken’ (see sts. 41-2), this syntactic pattern is not uncommon in dróttkvætt poetry, and it is not necessary (with Holtsmark, Hl 1941, 127) to look for Latin models for this variant. — The king is Magnús inn góði ‘the Good’ Óláfsson (d. 25 October 1047), the son of Óláfr Haraldsson. See Anon Nkt 33-5II and his Biography in SkP II. — [5]: The line recalls Þham Magndr 3/1II dunði broddr á brynju ‘the arrow-point resounded against the byrnie’, which commemorates Magnús berfœttr ‘Barelegs’ Óláfsson’s famous battle against two Norman earls in the Menai Strait (1098). The present poet must have known Þorkell’s stanza, and the borrowing is clearly intentional. — [8]: The line is incomplete and cannot be restored. The missing words must be a prep. or connective (in metrical position 3) followed by a short, bimoraic noun, a pronoun or a finite verb in metrical position 4 (e.g. at þat, í því ‘at that’, ok skar ‘and cut’). Jón Helgason (Hl 1941) suggests í styr ‘in battle’, which is metrically correct but unlikely, since styr also occurs in l. 3.



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 38a: AI, 526, BI, 506, Skald I, 248, NN §3396U; Hl 1941, 30, 93.


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