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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Tindr Hákdr 10I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa 10’ 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. 354.

Tindr HallkelssonHákonardrápa

text and translation

Þás fyr borð á barða
* bǫðvar fangs at ganga
veðrmagnanda Viðris
virðendr Búa kenndu.
Mikinn gerði herr hjǫrva
hljóm*; runnu þá sunnan
bauga skeiðr at breiðu
Baldrs Hôkunar valdi.

Þás {virðendr {fangs * bǫðvar}} á barða kenndu {{Viðris veðr}magnanda}, Búa, at ganga fyr borð. Herr gerði {mikinn hljóm* hjǫrva}; skeiðr {Baldrs bauga} runnu þá sunnan at breiðu valdi Hôkunar.
‘When the guardians of the tunic of battle [MAIL-SHIRT > WARRIORS] on the ship taught the strengthener of the storm of Viðrir <= Óðinn> [(lit. ‘storm-strengthener of Viðrir’) BATTLE > WARRIOR], Búi, to go overboard. The army made a great tumult of swords [BATTLE]; the warships of the Baldr <god> of rings [MAN] then ran from the south towards the wide domain of Hákon.

notes and context

The Jómsvíkingar realise that defeat is inevitable in the face of supernatural opposition. Búi seizes two chests full of gold, calls on his men to leap overboard and then jumps into the sea.

The two helmingar may have belonged originally to distinct stanzas, as suggested by Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 353-4). The subject-matter of ll. 5-8, the approach of the Danish expedition from the south, seems to be distinct from that of ll. 1-4, the battle itself. Additionally, the conj. þás ‘when’ in l. 1 introduces a subordinate clause that must have continued a prior statement now lost. This is suggested both by its incomplete meaning and by the fact that in normal skaldic practice a subordinate clause would follow, but not precede, a main clause (Kuhn 1983, 190-1). — [1-4]: (a) The interpretation here is essentially that of Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 353-4; Skj B), including his analysis of l. 2 (see Note below) and his overall construal, in which Viðris veðrmagnanda ‘the strengthener of the storm of Viðrir <= Óðinn> [(lit. ‘storm-strengthener of Viðrir’) BATTLE > WARRIOR]’ is taken in apposition with Búa ‘Búi’. However, such apposition is rare in early skaldic poetry, and some corruption of the text is possible, given the generally garbled state of the poem in 510. Other suggestions have been the following. (b) Sveinbjörn Egilsson (Fms 12; SHI 11; cf. LP (1860): bruðr 2) explains ms. bruðar as gen. sg. from bruðr/brunnr ‘spring, well’ taken in the sense of ‘sea’ and combined with fangs (for ms. fang), taken in the sense of ‘combat’, thus yielding the interpretation ‘sea-battle’. However, this is not recognisable skaldic idiom and bruðar would be unmetrical since a long syllable (brúð-) would be required. (c) Kock (NN §§437, 1912) argues for an adverbial gen. brúðar fangs ‘into the bride’s embrace’, referring to the sea-goddess Rán, i.e. the sea into which Búi famously leaps (see Context). He notes close verbal correspondences between this stanza and Vagn Lv, though there the embrace of a woman is literal. Additionally, Kock (NN §437, citing §327D) proposes a sense of virðendr equivalent to virðar ‘men’, but such a use of agentives would not be idiomatic and accordingly these suggestions were rejected by Reichardt (1930, 245). — [5-8]: Most of the emendations and the construal adopted in this edn were proposed by Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 352-3; Skj B) and retained by Kock in Skald.



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: Tindr Hallkelsson, 1. Drape om Hakon jarl 10: AI, 147, BI, 138, Skald I, 76, NN §§327D, 437, 1912, 2405; Fms 11, 140, Fms 12, 240, SHI 11, 129-30, Jvs 1879, 85.


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