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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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SnSt Ht 16III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 16’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1120.

Snorri SturlusonHáttatal

text and translation

Setr of vísa vitran
vígdrótt, en þar hníga,
— ýr dregsk — við skotskúrum
skjaldborg, í gras aldir.
Vápnrjóðr stikar víða
(vellbrjótr á lǫg) spjótum
(þryngr at sverða sǫngvi
sóknharðr) þrǫmu jarðar.

Vígdrótt setr skjaldborg of vitran vísa við skotskúrum; ýr dregsk, en þar hníga aldir í gras. {Vápnrjóðr} stikar víða þrǫmu jarðar spjótum; {sóknharðr vellbrjótr} þryngr á lǫg at {sǫngvi sverða}.
‘The battle-retinue sets up a shield-wall around the wise leader against the showers of shots; the yew-bow is pulled, and there people sink down in the grass. The weapon-reddener [WARRIOR = Hákon] encloses the wide edges of the earth with spears; the battle-strong gold-breaker [GENEROUS MAN] advances on the ocean towards the song of swords [BATTLE].

notes and context

The stanza illustrates the syntactic variation drǫgur ‘drawings’, in which the first word (setr ‘sets’) echoes the last word in the preceding stanza (setri ‘seat’; st. 15/8 above). In TGT, l. 1 is used to exemplify anadiplosis, which is the same figure (see st. 15 above).

The heading is drǫgur (U(47r) and added in R (R*)). This device is also known from Old French, Middle English, and Old Irish poetry, but it is very rare in Old Norse poetry (see Hl 1941, 129, SnE 2007, 53 and the literature cited there).



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 16: AII, 56, BII, 65, Skald II, 37; SnE 1848-87, I, 620-3, II, 370, 380-1, III, 114-15, SnE 1879-81, I, 3, 76, II, 9, SnE 1931, 222, SnE 2007, 11; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 11; SnE 1848-87, II, 146-7, 418, TGT 1884, 24, 94, 206-7, TGT 1927, 68, 102-3.


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