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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hharð Gamv 3II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson, Gamanvísur 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 38.

Haraldr harðráði SigurðarsonGamanvísur

Senn jósum vér, svanni,
sextán, þás brim vexti,
— dreif á hlaðna húfa
húm — í fjórum rúmum.
Vættik miðr, at motti
myni enn þinig nenna;
þó lætr Gerðr í Gǫrðum
gollhrings við mér skolla.

Vér jósum, svanni, sextán senn í fjórum rúmum, þás brim vexti; húm dreif á hlaðna húfa. Vættik miðr, at motti myni enn nenna þinig; þó lætr {Gerðr gollhrings} í Gǫrðum skolla við mér.

We bailed, woman, sixteen at a time in four rowing-stations, when the surf increased; sea-spray battered the loaded hull. I hardly think a sluggard will ever head there; yet {the Gerðr <goddess> of the gold ring} [WOMAN] in Russia ridicules me.

Mss: Mork(3r) (Mork); H(28v) (H-Hr); R(38r), Tˣ(40r), A(13r), C(7v) (SnE, ll. 1-4)

Readings: [1] jósum: jósu R, Tˣ, A, vissu C;    svanni: svanna H    [2] þás (‘þa er’): en R, Tˣ, A, at C;    vexti: fexti Tˣ, A    [3] hlaðna: hafskips R, A, C, hafsskips Tˣ    [5] miðr: minnr H    [6] myni: muni H;    þinig: þinnig H    [7] þó lætr Gerðr í Gǫrðum: abbrev. as ‘þ. l. ger.’ Mork, ‘þo lætr ger. i. g’ H    [8] gollhrings við mér skolla: om. Mork, abbrev. as ‘g. við mer sk’ H

Editions: Skald I, 72 (ll. 1-4), 166 (ll. 5-8); Mork 1867, 15, Mork 1928-32, 86, Andersson and Gade 2000, 148, 472-3 (MH); Fms 6, 170 (HSig ch. 15); SnE 1848-87, I, 498-9, II, 451, 600, SnE 1931, 175, SnE 1998, I, 94.

Context: In SnE (Skm), húmr ‘sea-spray’ is given as one of several heiti for ‘sea’.

Notes: [1-4]: In SnE (Skm), this helmingr is attributed to Brennu-Njáll Þorgeirsson (see Introduction above). — [1] svanni ‘woman’: The identity of this woman is unknown. For apostrophes to fictitious women in skaldic poetry, see Fidjestøl 1976 and Frank 1990. — [2] þás ‘when’: En ‘and’ (so R, , A), is also a possible reading. The C variant, vissu vér … at ‘we knew … that’ (ll. 1, 2), must be an independent innovation. — [2] vexti ‘increased’: This is 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic. of the weak verb vexa lit. ‘cause to increase’ used impersonally with brim ‘surf’ as the object. Fexti ‘crested’ (so , A) is possible (and adopted in Skj B, Skald), but the ms. witnesses show that it hardly represents the original reading. — [3] hlaðna húfa ‘the loaded hull’: Both Skj B and Skald adopt the SnE variant húfa hafskips ‘the hull of the ocean-ship’. A hafskip was a cargo ship manned by a smaller crew (here sixteen). See Falk 1912, 108. — [3] húfa ‘hull’: Lit. ‘hulls’. For this word, see Note to Mberf Lv 1/3. — [4] í fjórum rúmum ‘in four rowing-stations’: Rúm were partitioned rooms between the thwarts of the ship (see Falk 1912, 82-4). — [5-8]: Echo st. 2/5-8 above.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  4. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  5. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. Andersson, Theodore M. and Kari Ellen Gade, trans. 2000. Morkinskinna: The Earliest Icelandic Chronicle of the Norwegian Kings (1030-1157). Islandica 51. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
  7. Frank, Roberta. 1990a. ‘Why Skalds Address Women’. In Pàroli 1990, 67-83.
  8. Falk, Hjalmar. 1912. Altnordisches Seewesen. Wörter und Sachen 4. Heidelberg: Winter.
  9. Mork 1928-32 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1928-32. Morkinskinna. SUGNL 53. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  10. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  11. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  12. Fidjestøl, Bjarne. 1976a. ‘Ut no glytter dei fagre droser: Om kvinnesynet i norrøn litteratur’. SoS 82, 464-72. Rpt. as ‘“Out They Will Look, the Lovely Ladies”: Views of Women in Norse Literature’. In Fidjestøl 1997a, 333-42.
  13. Mork 1867 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1867. Morkinskinna: Pergamentsbog fra første halvdel af det trettende aarhundrede. Indeholdende en af de ældste optegnelser af norske kongesagaer. Oslo: Bentzen.
  14. Internal references
  15. Edith Marold 2017, ‘Snorra Edda (Prologue, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál)’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  16. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
  17. Not published: do not cite (HSigII)
  18. Not published: do not cite (MHII)
  19. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson, Lausavísur 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 385-6.

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