Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þhorn Harkv 13I

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) 13’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 107.

Þorbjǫrn hornklofiHaraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál)

‘Annat skulu þær eiga,         ambáttir Ragnhildar,
dísir dramblátar,         at drykkjumôlum,
an ér séð hergaupur,         es Haraldr hafi
sveltar valdreyra*,         en verar þeira bræði.

‘Þær skulu eiga annat, ambáttir Ragnhildar, dramblátar dísir, at drykkjumôlum, an ér séð {hergaupur}, es Haraldr hafi sveltar valdreyra*, en verar þeira bræði.

‘They shall have other things, Ragnhildr’s ladies-in-waiting, haughty women, for chatter over drink, than that you should see {war-lynxes} [WOLVES] which Haraldr has starved of the blood of the slain, while their men-folk feed [the wolves].

Mss: Flat(77ra) (Flat)

Readings: [5] ‑gaupur: ‘gopur’ Flat    [7] ‑dreyra*: ‑dreyrar Flat

Editions: Skj AI, 27, Skj BI, 24, Skald I, 15; Fms 10, 194-5, Fms 12, 226, Flat 1860-8, I, 576 (HarHárf); Möbius 1860, 229, Jón Helgason 1946, 146, Jón Helgason 1968, 18.

Context: The Danish princess Ragnhildr Eiríksdóttir rejects the offer of Haraldr hárfagri’s hand, disdaining to share his love with his reputed thirty wives and concubines. The Danish courtiers begin to mock Haraldr’s messengers, saying that the Danes have no reason to fear the Norwegian king, and that the ravens and eagles of Denmark will starve if they have to wait for Haraldr to fight (i.e. feed them corpses in battle).

Notes: [All]: The stanza is ascribed in the ms. to Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, but cf. the following stanza, Note to [All]. — [7] valdreyra* ‘the blood of the slain’: A minor emendation. Jón Helgason (1968, 18) suggests the possibility of inserting at before this word, on the model of hann svelti menn at mat ‘he starved people of food’. Möbius (1860) reads valdreyrgar ‘slain-bloody’ (i.e. covered with the blood of the slain), qualifying hergaupur ‘war-lynxes’.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  5. Möbius, Theodor. 1860. Edda Sæmundar hins fróða. Mit einem Anhang bisher ungedruckter Gedichte. Leipzig: Hinrichs.
  6. Jón Helgason, ed. 1968. Skjaldevers. 3rd edn. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  7. Jón Helgason. 1946. ‘Haraldskvæði’. Tímarit Máls og menningar, 131-46.
  8. Internal references
  9. Not published: do not cite (HarHárfII)
  10. Edith Marold 2017, ‘(Biography of) Þjóðólfr ór Hvini’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 431.

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