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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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SnSt Ht 40III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 40’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1149.

Snorri SturlusonHáttatal

text and translation

Hverr fremr hildi barra?
Hverrs mælingum ferri?
Hverr gerir hǫpp at stœrri?
Hverr kann auð at þverra?
Veldr hertogi hjaldri;
hanns first blikurmanni;
hann á hǫpp at sýnni;
hann vélir blik spannar.

Hverr fremr barra hildi? Hverrs ferri mælingum? Hverr gerir at stœrri hǫpp? Hverr kann at þverra auð? Hertogi veldr hjaldri; hanns first blikurmanni; hann á hǫpp at sýnni; hann vélir {blik spannar}.
‘Who promotes violent battle? Who is far from [being] a niggard? Who gains the greater good luck? Who knows how to diminish wealth? The war-leader causes battle; he is farthest from [being] a miser; he clearly has good luck; he tricks the gleam of the grip [GOLD].

notes and context

This alternation of questions and answers is called greppaminni ‘poets’ reminder’. The metre is dróttkvætt. In TGT the first helmingr illustrates anaphora, that is, the repetition of the same word at the beginning of each line. In the additions to Skm (W(168)), ll. 7-8 are given (slightly incorrectly) as an example of a man-kenning whose determinant is ‘gold’.

Similar question-answer sequences occur in RvHbreiðm Hl 45-6 (see Hl 1941, 125-6). See also FoGT (SnE 1848-87, II, 248), Anon Lil 62VII, SvB Lv 4V (Gr 36) and Grett Lv 20V (Gr 37) (for further literature see Vésteinn Ólason 1969, Foote 1982, 114, SnE 2007, 61 and Lönnroth 2009). — The heading in is 32. — [1-4]: In ms. A the lines were originally given in the order 1-4-3. Line 2 was added in the left margin in the same hand, and the correct order of lines is indicated by superscript notations.



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 40: AII, 63, BII, 72, Skald II, 40; SnE 1848-87, I, 650-1, II, 390, 498, III, 121, SnE 1879-81, I, 7, 79, II, 17, SnE 1931, 233, SnE 2007, 20; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 25; SnE 1848-87, II, 146-7, 418, TGT 1884, 24, 95, 207, TGT 1927, 68, 103.


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