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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hjálm Lv 3VIII (Ǫrv 9)

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Ǫrvar-Odds saga 9 (Hjálmarr inn hugumstóri, Lausavísur 3)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 821.

Hjálmarr inn hugumstóriLausavísur

text and translation

Fara halir hraustir         af herskipum,
tólf menn saman         tírarlausir.
Vit munum í aptan         Óðin gista,
tveir fullhugar,         en þeir tólf lifa.

Hraustir halir fara af herskipum, tólf menn saman tírarlausir. Vit munum í aptan gista Óðin, tveir fullhugar, en þeir tólf lifa.
‘Brave warriors are moving from the warships, twelve men together, lacking glory. This evening we will have lodging with Óðinn, two very brave men, but they twelve shall live.

notes and context

In both Ǫrv and Heiðr this stanza is attributed to Hjálmarr. In Ǫrv, after having declaimed Ǫrv 8, Oddr goes back into the forest and cuts a club to defend himself with against the berserks, while Hjálmarr waits for him. When Oddr comes back, the berserks run forward and Hjálmarr recites this stanza. In Heiðr the prose text summarises the sentiments of this stanza and Ǫrv 10, and the narrative supplies the text of both stanzas as confirmation of the heroes’ words.

Once again, this stanza is extant in a different version in two Heiðr mss, 2845 and R715ˣ, from that in Ǫrv, where it is found only in 344a, minus the last two lines, which have been added at the foot of the page in a later hand. In this case, the first helmingr is different in the two saga texts, while the second is similar (but see the second Note to [All] below for the complex situation regarding R715ˣ). In the first helmingr of the Heiðr text, ll. 3-4 are variations on ll. 5-6 of Heiðr’s st. 8 (see above). The first helmingr of the Ǫrv text reads: Hliðum vit fyrir | hjaldrviðum aldri, | þótt okkr | atalt þykki ‘Let us never retreat before battle-trees [WARRIORS], though [the situation] may seem to us terrible’. This text is unmetrical in lines 2, 3 and 4, whereas those of the Heiðr mss are metrical. Ǫrv 1888 and 1892 present the text according to 344a, while Edd. Min. gives a version mainly based on 344a but with some elements from the Heiðr mss. Skj A presents the text of 2845, with the 344a text in the notes, while Skj B has the text of 2845 for the first helmingr, followed by a mixed text in the second, with the 344a text of helmingr 1 in square brackets at the end of the stanza. Skald adopts the same procedure, except that here 344a’s text of helmingr 1 is given separately as st. 5b. — In another place further down fol. 9v, ll. 12-13, R715ˣ has a rather garbled and unmetrical helmingr, attributed to Hjálmarr, but not present in 2845, which may be a counterpart to ll. 1-4 of the 344a text. In the ms. it reads ‘flyum ei [or xij] fyrir heriudum \fyrir/ alldrei | okrum þo \nockud/ odælir […] þyki’, with the second ‘fyrir’ and ‘nockud’ added, the latter probably in the scribal hand. A version of it was printed by Verelius (Heiðr 1672, 69) and by Jón Helgason (Heiðr 1924, 98), who emends ‘heriudum’ to ‘fiondum’ ‘enemies’. It does not appear in Skj or Skald.



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. 10. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Ǫrvar-Oddssaga III 5: AII, 291, BII, 312, Skald II, 165-6; Ǫrv 1888, 99, Ǫrv 1892, 53, FSGJ 2, 254; Heiðr 1924, 10, 97, Heiðr 1960, 6; Edd. Min. 62.


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