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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Innsteinn Innkv 17VIII (Hálf 37)

Hubert Seelow (ed.) 2017, ‘Hálfs saga ok Hálfsrekka 37 (Innsteinn Gunnlaðarson, Innsteinskviða 17)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 333.

Innsteinn GunnlaðarsonInnsteinskviða

text and translation

Hér mun Innsteinn         til jarðar hníga,
hoskr at höfði         hers oddvita.
Þat munu seggir         at sögum gjöra,
at Hálfr konungr         hlæjandi dó.

Hér mun Innsteinn hníga til jarðar, hoskr at höfði {oddvita hers}. Seggir munu gjöra þat at sögum, at Hálfr konungr dó hlæjandi.
‘Here Innsteinn will sink to the ground, prudent by the head of the leader of the army [KING = Hálfr]. Men will fashion it into tales that king Hálfr died laughing.

notes and context

[5-8]: Innsteinn’s expressed awareness that people will turn the Hálfsrekkar’s heroic last stand into tales (at sögum) signals his recognition of Innkv’s place within the tradition of the hall fight (cf. Introduction to Innkv, part 1). The conceit that those tales will portray Hálfr as dying laughing is strongly reminiscent of the final line of Anon Krm 29/8 (see Note there) in which the dying Ragnarr loðbrók exclaims læjandi skal ek deyja ‘I’ll die laughing’. Another hero who dies laughing, as his heart is cut from his body, is Hǫgni in Akv 24/1.


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: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 6. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Hálfssaga VII 9: AII, 262, BII, 283, Skald II, 148; Hálf 1864, 25, Hálf 1909, 111, FSGJ 2, 118, Hálf 1981, 126-7, 185; Edd. Min. 37.


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