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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Tindr Hákdr 6I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa 6’ 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. 348.

Tindr HallkelssonHákonardrápa

text and translation

Gjǫrðusk — Gǫndlar borða
glaumr óx þar at * Naumu —
auði grimms at eyðask
ǫll lǫnd Dana brandi.
Kennt hefr heggr at hǫggva
hræ*birtinga sævar
veðreggjǫndum viggja*
vegg*s niðr of þat skeggi.

Ǫll lǫnd grimms auði gjǫrðusk at eyðask brandi Dana; {glaumr {borða Gǫndlar}} óx þar at * Naumu. {Heggr {hræ*birtinga}} hefr kennt {{{{sævar viggja*} vegg*s} veðr}eggjǫndum} at hǫggva skeggi niðr of þat.
‘All the lands of the one hostile to riches [Hákon] came to be laid waste with the sword of the Danes; the revelry of the planks of Gǫndul <valkyrie> [SHIELDS > BATTLE] increased there at Nauma. The bird-cherry of the corpse-trout [SWORDS > WARRIOR = Hákon] has taught the inciters of the weather of the wall of the horses of the sea [(lit. ‘weather-inciters of the wall of the horses of the sea’) SHIPS > SHIELD > BATTLE > WARRIORS] to hit down with their beards on account of that.

notes and context

As for st. 4.

[1-4]: This helmingr seems to indicate that the Danes raided Norway widely, if sporadically, in advance of the battle at Hjǫrungavágr (cf. ÍF 26, 277). Many difficulties are posed by these lines, however. (a) In this edn the key assumptions are that the initial verb is gjǫrðusk (3rd pers. pl. pret. indic.) ‘came to be’, lit. ‘made themselves’ from gera (so Sveinbjörn Egilsson, SHI 11); that ms. er in l. 2 should be deleted (Kock, NN §433, noting that superfluous words occur frequently in the text of 510); that Naumu (dat. sg.) in l. 2 represents a p. n. Nauma, governed by prep. at; that grimms (gen. sg.) ‘hostile’ in l. 3 is an adj. used substantivally (SHI 11; cf. Sigv Nesv 6/2, 14/8); that ms. ‘eyðiz’ (l. 3) should be emended to eyðask ‘be laid waste’; and that brandi (dat. sg.) in l. 4 means ‘with the sword’. The helmingr has been extensively debated in previous scholarship, with the following as the principal contributions. (b) Sveinbjörn Egilsson wavered between eyðask ‘to be laid waste’ and brandi ‘sword’ on the one hand (SHI 11), and eyðis ‘of the destroyer’ and brandi ‘flame’ on the other (Fms 12; cf. LP (1860): eyðir). (c) Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 338; cf. Skj B) reversed the relationship of the main and subordinate clauses and took ms. ‘giorduzt’ as representing a form of gerða ‘to surround’, combined with brandi in the sense of ‘ship’s prow’, and he emended at in l. 2 to the expletive particle of. This gives Gǫndlar borða naumu glaumr óx, þar es ǫll lǫnd auði grimms Dana eyðis of gerðusk brandi ‘The revelry of the giantess of the planks of Gǫndul <valkyrie> [SHIELDS > VALKYRIE > BATTLE] intensified, where all the lands of the devastator of the Danes [= Hákon], hostile to gold, were encircled by the prow(s)’. For the idea of encirclement as a protection against an invading adversary, Finnur Jónsson cites ÞKolb Eirdr 2/5-8. Nauma is here taken as a giantess-name. This interpretation, however, entails the problematic assumption that of (by emendation) and gjǫrðusk are to be construed together, although so distant in the text. (d) Kock (NN §433) rejects Finnur’s þar es ‘where’ on the grounds that it would reduce to one syllable, making the line unmetrical. He reverts to gerðusk/gjǫrðusk ‘came to be’ as from gera, brandi as ‘with the sword’ and eyðisk (seemingly construed as subj. from eyðask) as ‘laid waste’ and proposes to interpret Gǫndlar borða glaumr… at naumu as gnyende av sköldetrollet ‘clamour from/of the shield-troll’. Presumably Kock regarded this as equivalent to a kenning ‘clamour of the troll-woman of the shield [AXE > BATTLE]’ but the prepositional phrase at naumu does not conform to normal kenning structure. (e) Reichardt (1928, 204) continues Finnur Jónsson’s analysis of the lexis but normalises the relationship between main and subordinate clauses. — [5-8]: This edn adopts the readings proposed by Finnur Jónsson (Skj B, followed by Kock in Skald); several of these also go back to Sveinbjörn Egilsson in Fms 12. Necessary emendations are heggr, the tree-name ‘bird-cherry’, for ‘hægur’ in l. 5; gen. pl. birtinga for dat. pl. birtingum ‘sea-trout’ in l. 6; sævar ‘of the sea’ for ‘senar’ in l. 6; viggja ‘of horses’ for ‘viggjar’ in l. 7; and niðr ‘down’ for ‘niðz’ in l. 8. In l. 6, ‘hræber bírt-’ is evidently a dittography for hræ birt-.



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 6: AI, 146, BI, 137, Skald I, 75, NN §433; Fms 11, 138, Fms 12, 239, SHI 11, 119, 124-5, Jvs 1879, 83.


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