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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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SnSt Ht 76III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 76’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1187.

Snorri SturlusonHáttatal

text and translation

Hrannir strýkva hlaðinn bekk;
haflauðr skeflir;
kasta náir kjalar stíg
kalt hlýr sǫltum.
Svǫrtum hleypir svana fjǫll
snjallmæltr stillir
hlunna of Haka veg
hríðfeld skíðum.

Hrannir strýkva hlaðinn bekk; haflauðr skeflir; kalt hlýr náir kasta {sǫltum stíg kjalar}. Snjallmæltr stillir hleypir {svǫrtum skíðum hlunna} {hríðfeld fjǫll svana} of {veg Haka}.
‘Waves stroke the loaded ship; sea-foam piles up breakers; the cold prow throws aside the salty path of the keel [SEA]. The wise-spoken ruler makes the black skis of rollers [SHIPS] run along the stormy mountains of swans [WAVES] across the road of Haki <sea-king> [SEA].

notes and context

The metre is hnugghent ‘deprived-rhymed’. According to the commentary, the odd lines consist of seven syllables and have no internal rhymes. The difference between these odd lines and the odd lines in the previous stanza (st. 75) is that the penultimate word is a disyllabic short-stemmed word. If we assume resolution under primary stress (as indicated by the alliteration), these lines, too, can be treated as hexasyllabic, except l. 7 (barring emendation). The structure of the even lines is similar to those of sts 74-5 above, except that the internal rhyme, which here falls in positions 1 and 3, is skothent rather than aðalhent, except in l. 8 (and l. 4, if we assume aðalhending on a : ǫ, which is unlikely given the time of composition). All even lines have alliteration in position 1, and the odd lines have two alliterating staves: in position 1 and on the short-stemmed disyllabic word in penultimate position.

This metre is not attested elsewhere. — The rubric in R is lxviiii. — [7]: The line contains only six syllables, and Rask (SnE 1818, 262) added the adv. fram ‘forwards’ after hlunna ‘rollers’, which has been adopted by subsequent eds (aside from SnE 1848-87, SnE 1931 and SnE 2007). — [8]: Hríð- : skíð- form aðalhending rather than skothending, and Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) suggested the reading stóðum ‘stud-horses’ (svǫrtum stóðum hlunna ‘the black stud-horses of the rollers,’ i.e. ‘the black ships’; adopted in Skj B and Skald).



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 76: AII, 72, BII, 82, Skald II, 45; SnE 1848-87, I, 692-3, III, 130, SnE 1879-81, I, 12, 83, II, 28, SnE 1931, 246, SnE 2007, 32; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 48-9.


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