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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturl Hryn 9II

Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 9’ 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. 685-6.

Sturla ÞórðarsonHrynhenda

text and translation

Styrkir gengu menn und merkjum
málma lunds á víðri grundu
— valgammr sleit at vápna móti
varma bráð — af þínu ráði.
Sjálfri skipti örn við úlfa
ógnarbáru höfuðsára
(gyldir stóð yfir greypra hölda
grimrar þjóðar (meginblóði).

Styrkir menn gengu und merkjum {lunds málma} á víðri grundu af ráði þínu; {valgammr} sleit varma bráð at {móti vápna}. Örn skipti við úlfa {sjálfri ógnarbáru} höfuðsára grimrar þjóðar; gyldir stóð yfir meginblóði greypra hölda.
‘Strong men marched beneath the banners of the tree of weapons [WARRIOR = Hákon] on the wide plain according to your plan; the corpse-vulture [RAVEN/EAGLE] tore the warm flesh at the meeting of weapons [BATTLE]. The eagle shared with the wolves the very battle-wave [BLOOD] from the head-wounds of the fierce people; the wolf stood over the life-blood of cruel warriors.

notes and context

As st. 8 above.

Sturla draws a vivid picture of the battlefield. The vultures, ravens, eagles and wolves are shown gleefully feasting on the dead and wounded warriors. This is the only st. in Hryn describing the battlefield, or rather the aftermath of the battle. Nothing is said of King Hákon’s valour or deeds during the fighting.



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 9: AII, 104, BII, 115, Skald II, 61, NN §1350; F 1871, 550, E 1916, 646, Hák 1910-86, 648, Hák 1977-82, 164, Flat 1860-8, III, 192.


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