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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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RvHbreiðm Hl 13III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 13’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1021.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr ÞórarinssonHáttalykill

text and translation

Ella var
†a … ss† þar
Ragnars bani
rómu trani.
… †erð†
sœfðisk ferð;
gekk at frið
fylkis lið.

Ella var bani Ragnars; {trani rómu} †a … ss† þar. … †erð† ferð sœfðisk; lið fylkis gekk at frið.
‘Ælla was Ragnarr’s slayer; the crane of battle [EAGLE] … … there. … … the company was killed; the ruler’s troop destroyed the peace.

notes and context

The metre is called belgdrǫgur (‘Belg drogur’) ‘bellows-drawings’ (hap. leg.), possibly because the rhythm could be perceived as imitating the blasts of bellows in a smithy (Hl 1941). Each line consists of three syllables (corresponding to the odd lines in catalectic kviðuháttr) or four with resolution on the second lift (ll. 3-4), which is highly unusual (note the suspension of resolution on the first lift in st. 14/4 below). Each couplet has end-rhyme, and in that respect the metre resembles that of SnSt Ht 82 (in minnsta runhenda ‘the least end-rhyme’, not otherwise attested in Old Norse poetry).

The text in R683ˣ indicates missing words after ferð ‘company’ in l. 6 (not so papp25ˣ). Skj and Skald accordingly have faulty line-divisions and also incorporate lines from st. 14 in st. 13, because neither Finnur Jónsson nor Kock realised that the metre was trisyllabic runhent. — The king commemorated is Ælla of Northumbria (d. 867), the slayer of Ragnarr loðbrók (see sts 11-12 above). He was killed by the sons of Ragnarr. For Ælla, see Ragn, RagnSon, ÍF 35, 79-90, Saxo 2005, I, 9, 4, 34-5, 5, pp. 606-11 as well as Sigv Knútdr 1/1I and Note there. — [2]: The missing word must be the verb going with the subject trani rómu ‘the crane of battle’ (l. 4). In Hl 1941, Jón Helgason suggests at gall þar | rómu trani ‘there the crane of battle shrieked at that,’ whereas Holtsmark gives the reading át gat þar ‘food got there’. — [5]: The line cannot be reconstructed, but Jón Helgason (Hl 1941) conjectures sungu sverð ‘swords sang’.



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 7a: AI, 515, BI, 490, Skald I, 240; Hl 1941, 35, 49-51.


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