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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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RvHbreiðm Hl 78III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 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. 1088.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr ÞórarinssonHáttalykill

text and translation

Ben svall; brandr gall;
beit egg manns legg;
roðin var — rǫnd skar
rendr hjǫrr — benstǫrr.
Rautt blóð rann þjóð;
riðu sverð; hné ferð;
almr hrauzk — hræ bauzk
hrafns ætt — óslætt.

Ben svall; brandr gall; egg beit legg manns; {benstǫrr} var roðin; rendr hjǫrr skar rǫnd. Rautt blóð rann þjóð; sverð riðu; ferð hné; almr hrauzk óslætt; hræ bauzk ætt hrafns.
‘A wound swelled; a blade resounded; an edge bit a man’s leg; wound-sedge-grass [SWORD] was reddened; the drawn sword cut a shield-rim. Red blood poured from people; swords swung; the company fell; an elm-bow discharged itself not bluntly; carrion was offered to the family of the raven.

notes and context

As st. 77 above.

[5-8]: The second helmingr can be interpreted in two different ways, depending on whether the phonetic forms are Norwegian or Icelandic. Rugman consistently renders the consonant cluster hr- as <r> (loss of initial h- can be dated to the end of the Viking Age in Norway, but h- was preserved in Icelandic; see Seip 1955, 68, 76, 162). In rautt (‘raut’, both mss, l. 5) we are dealing either with a Norwegian form of the verb hrjóta ‘gush’ (hraut) or with the adj. rautt (n. nom. sg.) ‘red’ (with <t> possibly representing <tt>; see Note to st. 4/3). If the skald (Rǫgnvaldr?) used Norwegian forms in this stanza, l. 5 must be rendered as raut blóð; rann þjóð ‘blood gushed; people ran’ and l. 7 as almr rauzk; ræ bauzk ‘an elm-bow was reddened; carrion was offered’. In that case, the adv. óslætt ‘not bluntly’ (l. 8) must be assigned to the first clause in l. 6: sverð riðu óslætt ‘swords swung not bluntly’ (so R683ˣ) or óslæt sverð riðu ‘sharp (lit. not blunt) swords swung’ (so papp25ˣ). See the discussion in Hl 1941 and Konráð Gíslason (1895-7, II, 86-8).



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 39b: AI, 527, BI, 507, Skald I, 249, NN §§2083, 2540B, 2990F; Hl 1941, 31, 94-6.


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