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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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SnSt Ht 1III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1104.

Snorri SturlusonHáttatal

text and translation

Lætr, sás Hákun heitir,
— hann rekkir lið — bannat
— jǫrð kann frelsa — fyrðum
friðrofs konungr ofsa.
Sjálfr ræðr alt ok Elfar
ungr stillir sá milli
— gramr á gipt at fremri —
Gandvíkr jǫfurr landi.

Konungr, sás heitir Hákun, lætr bannat fyrðum ofsa friðrofs; hann rekkir lið; kann frelsa jǫrð. Jǫfurr, sá ungr stillir, ræðr sjálfr landi alt milli Gandvíkr ok Elfar; gramr á at fremri gipt.
‘The king, who is called Hákon, prevents people [from engaging in] the violence of truce-breaking; he emboldens the host; he can protect the country. The prince, that young leader, himself rules the land all the way between the White Sea and the Götaälv; the lord has all the more outstanding good luck.

notes and context

The stanza illustrates regular dróttkvætt metre in terms of the number of half-stanzas, couplets and lines that a stanza should contain, as well as the number of syllables per line, the number and placement of alliterating staves and the nature of internal rhymes. The whole stanza is given once, but ll. 1-2 and 3-4 are incorporated into the prose to illustrate alliteration (ll. 1-2) and rhyme (ll. 3-4) respectively (see Notes below).

For a more detailed discussion of dróttkvætt, see Section 4 of the General Introduction in SkP I as well as Kuhn (1983) and Gade (1995a). — The headings are it fyrsta kvæði ‘the first poem’ () and fyrst er dróttkvæðr háttr’ ‘first is the dróttkvætt verse-form’ (U(47r)). — [1-2]: These lines are repeated in the prose of R and with no variant readings. In U(47v), the lines read: lætr sa er .h. h. h. r. l. b. They are cited to show the nature and placement of alliteration – two alliterating staves (stuðlar ‘props, supports’) in an odd line (here: Hákun, heitir) alliterating with the first syllable (hǫfuðstafr ‘main stave’) in the following even line (here: hann). — [3-4]: These lines are also repeated in the prose in all mss (R(44v, 45r), (47r), U(48r)) with no variants. They illustrate the formation of internal rhymes (skothending ‘inserted rhyme, half-rhyme’, -ǫrð : -yrð- (l. 3) and aðalhending ‘noble rhyme, full rhyme’, -ofs : ofs- (l. 4)).



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: Snorri Sturluson, 2. Háttatal 1: AII, 52, BII, 61, Skald II, 35, NN §1294; SnE 1848-87, I, 594-9, II, 369, 372-3, III, 111, SnE 1879-81, I, 1, 74, II, 1, SnE 1931, 213-15, SnE 2007, 3-4; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 1-3.


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