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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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RvHbreiðm Hl 15III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 15’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1022.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr ÞórarinssonHáttalykill

text and translation

… an vægði
sóknfúss inn beinlausi

… í bǫð færi,
því …
… meginvíða
réð aldrlagi Ellu

… an vægði sóknfúss inn beinlausi … í bǫð færi, því … meginvíða … réð aldrlagi Ellu
‘… than submitted, battle-eager, the boneless … in battle fewer, therefore … very widely … caused the death of Ælla …

notes and context

The metre is munnvǫrp (‘Munnvorpor’) ‘mouth-throwings’ (i.e. ‘improvisations’; cf. SnSt Ht 66). Munnvǫrp is structured similarly to dróttkvætt but the odd lines lack internal rhyme and the even lines have skothending rather than aðalhending.

This metrical variant is quite common in less formal skaldic verse, and it is used consistently in Bjbp JómsI. — The hero commemorated is Ívarr inn beinlausi ‘the Boneless’, a son of Ragnarr loðbrók and the slayer of King Ælla (see sts 13-14). For Ragnarr’s sons, see Ragnars saga loðbrókar (Ragn), Ragnarssona saga (RagnSon), ÍF 35, 76-7 n. 11, 78-90, Saxo 2005, I, 9, 4, 8-5, 8, pp. 590-613, as well as sts 17-22 below. — Based on the structure (rhyme, alliteration, syntactic fillers) the lines can be divided as above (see Hl 1941). Finnur Jónsson and Kock did not realise that l. 3 was missing, and they accordingly construe l. 4 as an odd rather than as an even line. However, í bǫð færi ‘in battle fewer’ cannot occupy positions 3-6 in an odd line (bǫð ‘battle’ and færi ‘fewer’ would need to alliterate). Skj B and Skald also place því ‘therefore’ (l. 5) and meginvíða ‘very widely’ (l. 6) in the same line (their l. 4) and take our l. 7 as l. 5. — [8]: Papp25ˣ has a stop after aldrlagi ‘death’ in l. 7, but R683ˣ indicates that more words are missing. Attempts by earlier eds to reconstruct the stanza (NN §3115; Hl 1941) are completely conjectural and will not be discussed here.



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 8a: AI, 515, BI, 490-1, Skald I, 240, NN §3115; Hl 1941, 35, 51-2.


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