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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Tindr Hákdr 5I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa 5’ 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. 347.

Tindr HallkelssonHákonardrápa

text and translation

Fór*at jarl — en ára
*endr hermǫrum kenndi
Gǫndlar dóm* — at glaumi
geirs tírarfǫr meiri,
unz þás hrauð, en Hrauðnis,
hjaldrs, ræsik þat gjǫldum,
†nunnar fús á mæti†
meiðr víkinga skeiðar.

Jarl fór*at meiri tírarfǫr at {glaumi geirs} — en kenndi *endr {hermǫrum ára} {dóm* Gǫndlar} —, unz þás {meiðr hjaldrs} hrauð skeiðar víkinga †nunnar fús á mæti†, en ræsik þat {gjǫldum Hrauðnis}.
‘The jarl did not make a greater expedition of glory in the revelry of the spear [BATTLE] — and he again taught the war-horses of oars [SHIPS] the judgement of Gǫndul <valkyrie> [BATTLE] — until the time when the tree of battle [WARRIOR = Hákon] cleared the warships of the vikings … , and I declare that in the recompenses of Hrauðnir <giant> [POETRY].

notes and context

As for st. 4.

[1-4]: No wholly satisfactory solution to the difficulties posed by the ms. text has been devised thus far. In this edn it is proposed that gen. sg. dóms ‘judgement’ in l. 3 be emended to acc. sg. dóm, construed as the object of kenndi (from kenna ‘to teach’), with hermǫrum ára ‘war-horses of oars [SHIPS]’ (presumably the enemy ships) as the dat. of those taught. The construction is paralleled in st. 6/5-8, though applied in an unusual way here since those taught are inanimate. The result is three kennings in the helmingr, as contrasted with the two identified in previous scholarship, but less complex syntax and more idiomatic skaldic usage. Previous suggestions can be summarised as follows. (a) Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 333) takes en in l. 1 as the def. art. enn/inn and ken(n)di as an adjectival p. p., hence the noun phrase enn Gǫndlar dóms kendi jarl, which he translates den i kampe prøvede jarl ‘the jarl proved in battle’. However, en(n) and ken(n)di are widely separated in the text and the gen. case Gǫndlar dóms ‘judgement of Gǫndul [BATTLE]’ modifying ken(n)di is not paralleled elsewhere. (b) Kock (NN §432; Skald) also takes ken(n)di as adjectival and reads the text as jarl enn ára | endr hermǫrum kendi and translates: den för sina örlogsfartyg förut välbekante jarlen ‘the jarl, well-known from beforehand for his battle-vessels’, but such a description would be hard to parallel. Further, the suggested combination of geirs and Gǫndlar dóms as ‘war-spear’ is not recognisable skaldic idiom. — [7]: No convincing solution has been proposed for this garbled line, which lacks both alliteration and hending. Sveinbjörn Egilsson (Fms 12; SHI 11) emends ms. ‘nunnar’ to mýrar ‘swamp’ and ‘fus’ to fúrs ‘fire’ so as to generate a gold-kenning. Rejecting this on the grounds that mýrar would not be a valid determinant (as pertaining more to land, not water), Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 336) proposes mærðar, retaining fúss, thus ‘eager for renown’, and further emends ms. mæti to Mœri, here influenced by the localisation of the battle offshore from Møre (ON Mœrr) in Jvs (cf. Blake, Jvs 1962, 49).



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 5: AI, 146, BI, 137, Skald I, 75, NN §§432, 2092, 2448A, 2987H; Fms 11, 138, Fms 12, 239, SHI 11, 119, 123-4, Jvs 1879, 83.


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