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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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RvHbreiðm Hl 9-10III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 9-10’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1017.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr ÞórarinssonHáttalykill

text and translation

Heldr vas Helgi mildr
hjǫrva … ok gegn;
háði hjalms við þjóð
†hin† …
gerðisk geira harðr
gnýr, en †ordo† …
… flaug
bǫðvar tungl á stǫð;

hvít klofnaði rít;
blóði …
… fekk gagn;
veitti vísi nýtr

… fúsliga fljótt
Fenris átti ben

egg sundraði legg
Gauts, en gerði …
… malms sakaðr hjalmr.

Helgi vas heldr mildr hjǫrva … ok gegn; háði hjalms †hin† … við þjóð; {harðr gnýr geira} gerðisk, en †ordo† … flaug {tungl bǫðvar} á stǫð; … hvít rít klofnaði … blóði … fekk gagn; nýtr vísi veitti … fúsliga fljótt; Fenris átti ben … egg sundraði legg; Gauts, en gerði … sakaðr hjalmr … malms …
‘Helgi was very generous with the swords’ … and honourable; he waged the helmet’s … … against people; a hard crash of spears [BATTLE] came about and … … flew the moon of battle [SHIELD] toward the landing place … the white shield was cloven … with blood … got victory; the bountiful ruler gave … eagerly quickly; Fenrir’s <wolf’s> got wound … the edge shattered the leg; of Gautr <= Óðinn>, and the damaged helmet made … metal’s …

notes and context

The variant is not named, but the metre is that of SnSt Ht 51 (inn mesti stúfr ‘the greatest apocopated’), which is not otherwise attested outside the two claves metricae. Each line contains five syllables (catalectic dróttkvætt).

The metre is not named (titulus deest ‘the heading is missing’), and the two stanzas cannot be reconstructed. Together they are made up of twenty lines, but it is unclear whether we are dealing with two ten-line stanzas or one eight-line plus a twelve-line stanza (so the reconstruction in Hl 1941, although Jón Helgason leaves open the possibility of two ten-line stanzas; the comparable stanza in SnSt Ht (st. 51) has 8 lines). Finnur Jónsson and Kock did not use papp25ˣ and Skj B and Skald are based only on R683ˣ. Both eds contain faulty line-divisions and give two eight-line stanzas in which the lines can contain 5-7 syllables. Because the text in the two mss is so fragmentary, the present edn makes no attempt to speculate about possible reconstructions. Earlier attempts at reconstruction are entirely conjectural and have little or no support in the ms. witnesses. — The hero eulogised is probably Helgi Hundingsbani ‘Slayer of Hundingr’ (see HHund I-II). According to Old Norse sources he was the son of Sigmundr and the half-brother of Sigurðr (see sts 3-4). In Danish tradition he was confused with Helgi Hálfdanarson, father of Hrólfr kraki ‘Pole-ladder’ (see sts 37-8). — [16]: The line could also be construed as Fenris átt í ben ‘Fenrir’s family [WOLVES] into the wound’.



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 5a: AI, 514, BI, 489, Skald I, 240, NN §3114; Hl 1941, 34, 44-6.


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