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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hróksv Hrkv 11VIII (Hálf 61)

Hubert Seelow (ed.) 2017, ‘Hálfs saga ok Hálfsrekka 61 (Hrókr inn svarti, Hrókskviða 11)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 352.

Hrókr inn svartiHrókskviða

text and translation

Höfðum vér allir         inn efra hlut,
hvar sem Hildar …         hlífar knúði.
Einn vissa ek         jafnsnjallan gram,
Sigurð konung         at sölum Gjúka.

Vér höfðum allir inn efra hlut, hvar sem {… Hildar} knúði hlífar. Ek vissa einn jafnsnjallan gram, Sigurð konung at sölum Gjúka.
‘We all had the better share wherever … of Hildr [BATTLE?] struck shields. I knew only one prince to have been equally valiant, King Sigurðr at Gjúki’s halls.

notes and context

[3-4]: The problem with these lines concerns the probable kenning that underlies them. Because hlíf (l. 4) itself means ‘shield’ it cannot be construed with Hildar (l. 3) to give a shield-kenning. Most eds have therefore supposed that another word, forming a kenning with Hildar ‘of Hildr’, must have dropped out of l. 3, even though there is no lacuna in the ms. The following suggestions have been made: Hálfr 1864: hvars Hildar él | Hálfr knúði (but this is unmetrical); Edd. Min.: hvar sem Hildar hlynr | hlífar knúði; Skj B: hvars Hildar él | hlífar knúði; Skald: hvar er Hildar hríð | hlífar knúði. The following kennings have been proposed: él Hildar ‘the storm of Hildr <valkyrie> [BATTLE]’; hlynr Hildar ‘the maple of Hildr <valkyrie> [WARRIOR]’ and hríð Hildar ‘the storm of Hildr <valkyrie> [BATTLE]’. A sword-kenning like ‘fire (eldr, bál) of Hildr’ is also a possibility.


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 11: AII, 266, BII, 288, Skald II, 151, NN §2383; Hálf 1864, 34, Hálf 1909, 124, FSGJ 2, 127, Hálf 1981, 134, 193; Edd. Min. 45-6.


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