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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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RvHbreiðm Hl 11III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 11’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1019.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr ÞórarinssonHáttalykill

text and translation

Rétts, at rekkum þótti
Ragnarr hauksnarr … ;
rauð bragna vinr blóði
bensildr hringmildr algildr.
Frægr lét gramr með gnógu*
gunnhvatr ólatr †ul† … ;
satts, at siklingr þótti
sjaldhýrr, margskýrr, aldýrr.

Rétts, at Ragnarr þótti rekkum hauksnarr … ; {hringmildr, algildr vinr bragna} rauð {bensildr} blóði. Frægr, gunnhvatr, ólatr gramr lét †ul† … með gnógu*; satts, at siklingr þótti sjaldhýrr, margskýrr, aldýrr.
‘It is right that Ragnarr seemed hawk-keen … to men; the ring-generous, thoroughly splendid friend of the people [= Ragnarr] reddened wound-herrings [SWORDS] with blood. The renowned, battle-swift, not tardy ruler gave … … with abundance; it is true that the lord seemed seldom friendly, very wise, thoroughly excellent.

notes and context

The metre is not named in papp25ˣ (Titulus deest ‘The heading is missing’), but it is þríhent ‘triple-rhymed’, which corresponds to SnSt Ht 36. The heading was added by Rugman in R683ˣ (‘þrihent’), most likely from his knowledge of the term in Ht (see Hl 1941). The odd lines are regular dróttkvætt and the even lines have three internal rhymes in positions 2, 4, and 6.

The metre is attested only in Hl and Ht, and Holtsmark (Hl 1941, 130-1) supplies comparable examples from Medieval Latin poetry (where this type of triple rhymes in a line is called trinini or triformes). — The hero commemorated is Ragnarr loðbrók ‘Shaggy-breeches’ (RloðVIII; see Ragn, RagnSon, ÍF 35, 35, 59, 70, 73, 75-7 and Saxo 2005, I, 9, 4, 1-39, pp. 586-609). For Rǫgnvaldr’s familiarity with the stories about Ragnarr loðbrók and his sons, see Introduction above. — [2]: The line lacks a final disyllabic word carrying internal rhyme. In papp25ˣ Rugman (?) added the nonsensical ‘havelnarr’ above hauksnarr ‘hawk-keen’, which apparently constitutes an alternative reading of the original ms.’s ‘haucsnarr’. That reading was later entered at the end of the line in R683ˣ in another hand. Skj B completes the line with the conjectural móðbarr ‘courage-ready’, whereas Kock (NN §2070) supplies velvarr ‘very cautious’ from ‘hávelnarr’. — [6]: Rugman could not read the last word of the line and wrote ‘ul’ in papp25ˣ. In R683ˣ he first wrote ‘uk’ to which the nonsensical ‘alur’ was added in a later hand. Skj B leaves the space open, and Kock (NN §2071) reconstructs ókátr ‘unhappy’ (< ‘ukalur’). He later (NN §2990F) changes that to fákátr ‘little happy’, no doubt to avoid double alliteration on two vowels in the even line, but neither cpd provides the required aðalhending. Jón Helgason (Hl 1941) tentatively suggests vítt hatr ‘widely hated,’ but that reading remains conjectural. As it stands, the sentence in ll. 5-6 is syntactically incomplete because it lacks an object to lét ‘gave’ (l. 5), and that object was likely contained in the last word of l. 6.



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 6a: AI, 514, BI, 490, Skald I, 240, NN §§2070, 2071, 2990F; Hl 1941, 32-3, 46-8.


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