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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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SnSt Ht 59III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 59’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1168.

Snorri SturlusonHáttatal

text and translation

Hjálmlestir skekr Hristar
hreggǫld Sigars veggi;
gramr lætr í byr brjóta
brands hnigþili randa stranda.
Stálhrafna lætr stefnir
styrvind of sik þyrja;
þiggr at Gǫndlar glyggvi
gagn oddviti bragna sagna.

{Hjálmlestir} skekr {veggi Sigars} {hreggǫld Hristar}; gramr lætr {hnigþili brands} brjóta í {byr {stranda randa}}. {Stefnir {stálhrafna}} lætr {styrvind} þyrja of sik; oddviti sagna bragna þiggr gagn at {glyggvi Gǫndlar}.
‘The helmet-damager [WARRIOR] shakes walls of Sigarr <legendary king> [SHIELDS] during the storm-age of Hrist <valkyrie> [BATTLE]; the ruler makes bending boards of the sword [SHIELDS] break in the fair breeze of the shores of shields [SHIELD-RIMS > BATTLE]. The impeller of prow-ravens [SHIPS > SEAFARER] makes tumult-wind [BATTLE] rage around him; the leader of troops of men receives victory at the gale of Gǫndul <valkyrie> [BATTLE].

notes and context

This dróttkvætt variant is called kimblaband ‘bundle-bond’, and it is characterised by an additional cadence (a word with a long-stemmed syllable plus a short inflectional ending) with aðalhending added after metrical position 6 in ll. 4 and 8.

The heading in is 51. For the name of the metre, see also RvHbreiðm Hl 27-8. Other than in Hl and Ht, the variant is not attested in skaldic poetry, and that is also the case with it meira kimblaband ‘the greater bundle-bond’ (st. 60) and in mestu kimblabǫnd ‘the greatest bundle-bonds’ (st. 61). — [3-4]: Following SnE 1848-87, Möbius (SnE 1879-81, I, 81) and Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) render the kennings contained in these lines as hnigþili stranda randa ‘the bending boards of the shores of shields [SHIELD-RIMS > SHIELDS]’ and í byr brands ‘in the fair breeze of the sword [BATTLE]’, but Konráð remarks that the first kenning is an odd shield-kenning which may refer to a shield-wall rather than to shields. Skj B, Skald and SnE 2007 construe the following kennings: hnigþili randa ‘bending boards of shield-rims [SHIELDS]’ and í byr stranda brands ‘in the fair breeze of the shores of the sword [SHIELDS > BATTLE]’. According to Faulkes (SnE 2007, 123), hnigþili randa ‘bending boards of shield-rims’ could either be a kenning for ‘shields’ or refer to the boards of which shields are made. However, hnigþili ‘bending boards’ in itself can serve as the base-word in a shield-kenning, and the present reading avoids both an ambiguous kenning and a syntactic break between the last two words of 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 59: AII, 68, BII, 77, Skald II, 43; SnE 1848-87, I, 672-5, III, 126, SnE 1879-81, I, 10, 81, II, 23, SnE 1931, 240, SnE 2007, 26; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 35-6.


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