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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturl Hrafn 14II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrafnsmál 14’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 739.

Sturla ÞórðarsonHrafnsmál

text and translation

Herðu herferðir
hryggs í stórbygðir
víða vargfæðis
virðar geðstirðir.
Fekk inn fólkrakki
felli gunnspelli
öldum ósjaldan
Aleinn lífdvalar.

Geðstirðir virðar herðu herferðir víða í stórbygðir {hryggs vargfæðis}. Inn fólkrakki Aleinn fekk ósjaldan öldum {felli lífdvalar} gunnspelli.
‘The mind-strong men intensified military campaigns far and wide in the large settlements of the gloomy wolf-feeder [WARRIOR = Alexander]. The battle-brave Alan gave people not seldom a slayer of life’s duration [DEATH] by battle-destruction.

notes and context

One of Hákon’s allies, Alan, the brother of King Dugald of the Hebrides, marched through Scotland killing people, capturing more than a hundred head of cattle and doing the worst damage.

[5]: The l. echoes ÞTref Hrafn 2/1V. — [8]: Note that the internal rhyme, falling on a short, penultimate syllable (-al- : -al-), is otherwise unattested in haðarlag. Also note that there is suspended resolution in the first lift, which is characteristic of málaháttr, the unrhymed prototype of haðarlag (see Sievers 1893, 73).



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: Sturla Þórðarson, 5. Hrafnsmál 14: AII, 122-3, BII, 130, Skald II, 70, NN §§1358, 2992D; F 1871, 576Hák 1977-82, 200-1, Flat 1860-8, III, 224.


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