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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hróksv Hrkv 6VIII (Hálf 56)

Hubert Seelow (ed.) 2017, ‘Hálfs saga ok Hálfsrekka 56 (Hrókr inn svarti, Hrókskviða 6)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 349.

Hrókr inn svartiHrókskviða

text and translation

Mæla virðar,         þeir er vitu ekki,
at Hálfs frami         heimsku sætti.
Kann ekki sá         konung háleyskan,
er heimsku þrótt         honum eignaði.

Virðar, þeir er vitu ekki, mæla, at frami Hálfs sætti heimsku. Sá kann ekki háleyskan konung, er eignaði honum þrótt heimsku.
‘Those men, who do not know, say that Hálfr’s courage amounted to foolishness. He does not know the king from Hålogaland, who ascribed the valour of foolishness to him.

notes and context

Cf. this justification of Hálfr’s behaviour and his insistence on visiting Ásmundr when warned against it with Innsteinn’s criticism in Hálf 18. Hálfr’s valour of foolishness (þrótt heimsku) can be compared with the ofermod or reckless courage of other heroic leaders, e.g. the Anglo-Saxon ealdormann Byrhtnoð in the Old English poem The Battle of Maldon, l. 89 (Gordon 1937, 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: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 6. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Hálfssaga IX 6: AII, 265, BII, 287, Skald II, 151; Hálf 1864, 32-3, Hálf 1909, 122, FSGJ 2, 125, Hálf 1981, 133, 191-2; Edd. Min. 45.


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