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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturl Hryn 11II

Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 11’ 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, pp. 687-8.

Sturla ÞórðarsonHrynhenda

text and translation

Gneistum hratt fyrir Elfi austan
elris garmr í ráfit varma;
síðan fellu hávar hallir
hrygðarstund í Dana bygðum.
Innin tóku öll at brenna
(ógnarstríðr) á Hallandssíðu
(ýta rann um stórlig stræti
storðar úlfr fyrir Glaumstein norðan).

{Garmr elris} hratt gneistum í ráfit varma fyrir austan Elfi; síðan fellu hávar hallir hrygðarstund í bygðum Dana. Öll innin tóku at brenna á Hallandssíðu; {ógnarstríðr úlfr storðar} rann um stórlig stræti ýta fyrir norðan Glaumstein.
‘The hound of the alder-tree [FIRE] threw sparks at the warm roof east of the Götaälv; then the high halls fell down at that sorrowful time in the Danes’ settlements. All the houses began to burn on the coast of Halland; the battle-harsh wolf of the land [FIRE] ran through the great streets of men north of Glaumsteinn.

notes and context

The night after the burning, the fleet got caught in a storm and some of the ships drifted off. The Danes took the opportunity to attack and kill some of Hákon’s men, and set the ships that drifted ashore on fire. The Norwegians managed to save some of the ships before heading off again to Årnäs (Aranes), where they burned the Dan. settlement.

Sturla seems to have been particularly fascinated with fire. He creates a similar, but more elaborate nýgerving ‘extension of meaning’, i.e. giving a new meaning to words (see SnE 1999, 131) in Sturl Hákkv 7-8, where fire is shown as a vicious dog set free by Hákon, devouring everything in its path. — [5-8]: Finnur Jónsson and Kock did not agree on the interpretation of this helmingr. Skj B construes stórlig ‘great’(l. 7) with innin (inni) ‘houses’ (l. 5) and gives the following reading: ǫll stórlig inni fyr norðan Glymstein tóku at brenna ‘all great houses north of Glymsteinn began to burn’. The present edn agrees with Kock’s (NN §1351) and Konráð Gíslason’s (1895-7, I, 75) interpretations, except that Konráð places stórlig stræti ýta ‘great streets of men’ (l. 7) more precisely á Hallandssíðu fyr norðan Glymstein ‘on the coast of Halland north of Glymsteinn’ (ll. 6, 7, 8).



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, 3. Hrynhenda 11: AII, 105, BII, 116, Skald II, 61, NN §1351; F 1871, 550, E 1916, 647, Hák 1910-86, 650, Hák 1977-82, 165, Flat 1860-8, III, 193.


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