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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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SnSt Ht 77III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 77’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1188.

Snorri SturlusonHáttatal

Snyðja lætr í sólroð
snekkjur á Manar hlekk
(árla sér ungr jarl)
allvaldr (breka fall).
Lypta kná lýðr opt
lauki of kjalar raukn;
greiða náir glygg váð;
greipum mœta dragreip.

Allvaldr lætr snekkjur snyðja á {hlekk Manar} í sólroð; árla sér ungr jarl fall breka. Lýðr kná opt lypta lauki of {raukn kjalar}; glygg náir greiða váð; dragreip mœta greipum.

The mighty ruler makes warships hasten on {the chain of Man <island>} [SEA] at dawn; early the young jarl sees the falling of the breakers. People often lift the mast on {the draught-animals of the keel} [SHIPS]; the storm unfolds the sail; halyards meet hands.

Mss: R(52r), W(150) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Snyðja: so W, ‘[…]’ R    [3] jarl: ‘[…]rl’ R, ‘[…]arl’ W    [4] breka: so W, ‘[…]a’ R    [5] Lypta: lyptask W;    kná: so W, ‘[…]a’ R;    lýðr: of liði W    [6] of: við W    [7] náir: ‘ná[…]’ W

Editions: Skj AII, 72, Skj BII, 82, Skald II, 45, NN §§1321, 2247C; SnE 1848-87, I, 694-5, III, 130, SnE 1879-81, I, 13, 83, II, 29, SnE 1931, 246, SnE 2007, 32; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 49.

Context: The metre is hálfhnept ‘half-curtailed’. According to the commentary, each line contains six syllables, but as a licence they may have five or seven. The odd lines have skothending and the even lines aðalhending. The second hending in all lines always falls on a monosyllable in line-final position (see the odd lines in st. 75 above), which is then considered hnept ‘curtailed, shortened’, whereas the first hending falls on a disyllabic word and is not hnept. The pattern of alliteration in odd and even lines is the same as in st. 76.

Notes: [All]: This metre is very difficult to account for in terms of metrical patterns. See Section 4 of the General Introduction in SkP I. For this verse-form, see also RvHbreiðm Hl 49-50. — [1] í sólroð ‘at dawn’: Lit. ‘in the sun-reddening’. This could also refer to sundown, but in view of the adv. árla ‘early’ (l. 3) the former is preferred here. — [2] Manar ‘of Man <island>’: Taken here as the Isle of Man, but it could also be the Danish island Møn. — [3] ungr jarl ‘the young jarl’: See Note to st. 51/1, 2. Note that the initial glide in jarl is not counted as a vowel and does not participate in the alliteration (see Note to st. 67/8 above). — [4] allvaldr ‘the mighty ruler’: Kock (NN §§1321, 2247C) treats allvaldr and ungr jarl ‘the young jarl’ (l. 3) as parallel constructions that both function as the subjects of the last clause of the helmingr, leaving the first clause with a suppressed subject. — [5-6]: Line 5 is partly damaged in R, and what can be read can be rendered as follows: ‘lypta[…]a lyðr opt’. Ms. W has ‘lyptaz kna of liði opt’, which gives the following version of ll. 5-6: lauki kná opt lyptask of liði við raukn kjalar ‘the mast is often lifted above the crew near the draught-animals of the keel’. Lyptask ‘is lifted’ is then used impersonally with a passive meaning and lauki ‘mast’ as the dat. object. Ms. R furnishes the subject lýðr ‘people’ which means that the m. v. is no longer possible: lýðr kná opt lyptask lauki of raukn kjalar ‘people can often be lifted with the mast on the draught-animals of the keel’ makes little sense. (a) The present edn follows SnE 1848-87, Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) and Skald, assuming an original R reading of l. 5 as lypta kná lýðr opt lit. ‘lift can people often’ with lauki ‘mast’ (l. 6) as the dat. object. (b) Skj B opts for a combination of the R and W readings and renders ll. 5-6 (prose order) as lauki kná opt lypta of liði of kjalar raukn translated as masten rejses ofte på skibene over mandskabet ‘the mast is often raised on the ships above the crew’. (c) Faulkes (SnE 2007) gives the inf. of the first verb as lyptask, but he otherwise retains the R readings of the two lines, taking lyptask in a passive meaning (‘be lifted’) and lauki ‘mast’ as a dat. instr. (‘people are often lifted with the mast on the ships’), which is difficult to understand (see above). — [8] dragreip ‘halyards’: For this word, see also Þul Skipa 10/1.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  7. Konráð Gíslason. 1895-7. Efterladte skrifter. 2 vols. I: Forelæsninger over oldnordiske skjaldekvad. II: Forelæsninger og videnskablige afhandlinger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  8. SkP I = Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Ed. Diana Whaley. 2012.
  9. SnE 2007 = Snorri Sturluson. 2007. Edda: Háttatal. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  10. SnE 1879-81 = Möbius, Theodor, ed. 1879-81. Hattatal Snorra Sturlusonar. 2 vols. Halle an de Saale: Verlag der Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses.
  11. Internal references
  12. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Skipa heiti 10’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 876.
  13. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 49’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1057.

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