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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjsk Hák 1I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorleifr jarlsskáld Rauðfeldarson, Poem about Hákon 1’ 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. 369.

Þorleifr jarlsskáld RauðfeldarsonPoem about Hákon

text and translation

Hôkun, vitum hvergi
(hafizk hefr runnr af gunni)
fremra jarl und ferli
(folk-Ránar) þér mána.
Þú hefr ǫðlinga Óðni
— etr hrafn af ná getnum —
— vesa mátt af því, vísi,
víðlendr — níu senda.

Hôkun, vitum hvergi jarl fremra þér und {ferli mána}; {runnr {folk-Ránar}} hefr hafizk af gunni. Þú hefr senda Óðni níu ǫðlinga; hrafn etr af getnum ná; vísi, mátt af því vesa víðlendr.
‘Hákon, we [I] do not know of a jarl anywhere more outstanding than you beneath the track of the moon [SKY]; the tree of the battle-Rán <goddess> [VALKYRIE > WARRIOR = Hákon] has made himself eminent by warfare. You have sent nine nobles to Óðinn; the raven eats from provided corpses; prince, because of that you can spread your dominion widely.

notes and context

The stanza is cited as evidence of Hákon jarl’s noble qualities, notwithstanding the indignities visited upon his corpse and his posthumous nickname jarl inn illi ‘the bad jarl’.

The stanza is attributed to ‘Þorleifr Rauðfeldarson’ in all mss except F, which has (normalised) Svá segir Þorleifr í Rauðfeldardrápu ‘So says Þorleifr in Rauðfeldardrápa’. This title is presumably erroneous, though Stúfsdrápa ‘Stúfr’s Drápa’ (Stúfr StúfdrII) is an instance of a poem named after its author. — [1]: This line lacks skothending, but parallels exist in early poetry (and cf. st. 2/1, and Þjsk Jarl 1/1, noted by Kock in NN §2443). Emendations were suggested by Jón Þorkelsson (1884, 59) and Hjelmqvist (1890, 285-6), but neither is very convincing. — [6]: This line appears with minor variation as Ólhelg Lv 7/2. Hást Lv 4/6IV and Þmáhl Máv 8/6V (Eb 10) are also similar, and Gade (1995a, 101) suggests all represent reworking of a stock phrase .



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: Þórleifr jarlsskáld Rauðfeldarson, 1. Hákonardrápa 1: AI, 141, BI, 132, Skald I, 73, NN §2443A; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 356, IV, 91-2, ÍF 26, 298-9, Hkr 1991, I, 201 (ÓTHkr ch. 50), F 1871, 131; SHI 1, 246, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 238 (ch. 104), Flat 1860-8, I, 239; ÞorlJ 1883, 160-1.


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