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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Tindr Hákdr 4I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa 4’ 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. 345.

Tindr HallkelssonHákonardrápa

text and translation

Vann á Vinða sinni
verðbjóðr Hugins ferðar
(beit sólgagarr seilar)
sverðs eggja spor (leggi),
áðr hjǫrmeiðar hrjóða
(hætting vas þat) mætti
(leiðar) langra skeiða
(liðs) halfan tøg þriðja.

{{{Ferðar Hugins} verð}bjóðr} vann {spor eggja sverðs} á sinni Vinða — {{seilar sól}gagarr} beit leggi —, áðr {hjǫrmeiðar} mætti hrjóða halfan þriðja tøg langra skeiða; þat vas hætting liðs leiðar.
‘The offerer of the meal of the flock of Huginn <raven> [(lit. ‘meal-offerer of the flock of Huginn’) RAVENS > CORPSES > WARRIOR = Hákon] made trails of the edges of the sword [WOUNDS] on the company of the Wends — the dog of the sun of the strap [(lit. ‘sun-dog of the strap’) SHIELD > SWORD] bit limbs — before sword-trees [WARRIORS] could clear twenty-five long warships; that was a menace for the army of the fleet.

notes and context

In Hkr, the stanza is cited after the battle is over, and the Jómsvíkingar defeated. In Jvs, twenty-five of their ships have been cleared; sts 4-11 are cited virtually continuously.

[5-8]: (a) Adopted in this edn is the interpretation of Reichardt (1928, 50-2), followed by Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 26), where liðs leiðar ‘the army of the fleet’ is treated as an attributive gen. depending on hætting ‘menace, danger’. Ms. meiðar is retained as a pl. form of meiðr ‘tree’, with the verb mætti (3rd pers. pret. subj.) ‘could’ correspondingly a pl. Kennings with this base-word are exceedingly common (cf. LP: meiðr). Other possibilities are as follows. (b) Liðs leiðar could be taken as governing skeiðar, hence ‘warships belonging to the levied army’ (so Fms 12; SHI 11; Jón Þorkelsson 1884, 56). (c) Liðs could be taken with hætting ‘menace for the army’ and leiðar as part of a kenning leiðar hjǫrmeiðir ‘destroyer of the sword-path [(lit. ‘sword-destroyer of the path’) SHIELD > WARRIOR]’ (so Finnur Jónsson 1886b, 333; cf. Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B). However, this entails preferring the reading of 39 and F, meiðir ‘destroyer’, and since hjǫrmeiðir ‘sword-destroyer’ is in itself a standard kenning for ‘warrior’ there is no necessity for kenning inversion and complex word order (as pointed out by Kock, NN §431; cf. Reichardt 1928, 51); Reichardt additionally noted that leið is not elsewhere attested in kennings for ‘shield’. (c) Kock (NN §431) opted for a cpd, with tmesis, of leiðar with skeið, equating this with leiðangrsskip ‘ship obtained through a levy’. He then linked liðs with the verb hrjóða, explaining this as ‘to clear of the army, empty of men’; this solution is rejected by Reichardt (1928, 52). 



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 4: AI, 145-6, BI, 136-7, Skald I, 75, NN §§431, 2755; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 337, IV, 90-1, ÍF 26, 286 (ch. 42), F 1871, 124; Fms 1, 183, Fms 12, 46, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 199-200 (ch. 90); Fms 11, 138, SHI 11, 119, 123, Jvs 1879, 82-3.


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