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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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SnSt Ht 18III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 18’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1123.

Snorri SturlusonHáttatal

Blóð fremr — hlǫkk at háðisk,
heldr slitnar dul — vitni;
skjǫldr, en skatnar foldir,
skelfr harðr, taka varða.
Fal lætr of her hvítan
hollr gramr rekinn framðan;
en tiggja sonr (seggjum
svalr brandr) dugir (grandar).

Blóð fremr vitni; heldr slitnar dul, at hlǫkk háðisk; harðr skjǫldr skelfr, en skatnar taka varða foldir. Hollr gramr lætr hvítan rekinn fal framðan of her; svalr brandr grandar seggjum, en {sonr tiggja} dugir.

Blood benefits the wolf; rather, concealment is ended that a battle was waged; the hard shield shakes, and men begin to defend the lands. The loyal lord makes the white inlaid spear-socket advance above the army; the cool sword injures men, and {the ruler’s son} [= Hákon] is capable.

Mss: R(47r), Tˣ(49v), W(142), U(47r) (l. 1), U(51r) (SnE)

Readings: [1] hlǫkk: ‘.h.’ U(47r);    at: en U(47r);    háðisk: om. U(47r)    [3] foldir: feldir W, fellir U    [4] skelfr: skelf U;    harðr taka: ‘ha[…]a’ W;    harðr: harða Tˣ    [5] Fal: hal W, fall U;    lætr of: látit all    [7] sonr: son W, sonar U    [8] svalr: ‘[…]va[…]’ W

Editions: Skj AII, 57, Skj BII, 65, Skald II, 38, NN §§1779B, 2175; SnE 1848-87, I, 626-7, II, 370, 382, III, 115, SnE 1879-81, I, 3, 76, II, 11, SnE 1931, 224, SnE 2007, 12-13; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 12.

Context: As st. 17 above. The antitheses occur only in the even lines. Both the refhvǫrf constructions and the content of the stanza are explained in the accompanying prose commentary.

Notes: [All]: The headings are xi. háttr ‘the eleventh verse-form’ ((49r)) and ǫnnur refhvǫrf ‘the second fox-turns’ (U(47r)). — [All]: The words containing the antitheses are the following: heldr ‘holds’ (taken as 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of halda ‘hold’ rather than as the comp. adv. heldr ‘rather’) : slitnar ‘is ended’; dul ‘concealment’ : vitni ‘testimony’ (rather than vitni ‘wolf’) (l. 2); skelfr ‘shaking’ (taken as an adj., m. nom. sg., rather than as 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of the verb skjálfa ‘shake’) : harðr ‘hard’; taka ‘take’ : varða ‘defend’ (l. 4); hollr ‘loyal’ : gramr ‘unfriendly’ (taken as an adj., m. nom. sg., rather than as the noun gramr ‘lord’); rekinn ‘driven away’ (rather than ‘inlaid’) : framðan ‘advanced’ (l. 6); svalr ‘cool’ : brandr ‘fire’; dugir ‘benefits’ : grandar ‘injures’ (l. 8). — [1] hlǫkk ‘a battle’: Hlǫkk is the name of a valkyrie, but the word is used as a common noun here (see Notes to ÞSjár Þórdr 4/3I and Arn Rǫgndr 1/3II). See also st. 42/2 below. — [3] foldir ‘the lands’: Most likely Østfold and Vestfold, the districts on the east and west side of Oslofjorden (so Konráð Gíslason 1895-7). See also Note to st. 17/2 above. — [5-6]: As they stand in the mss, these lines read fal (hal W, fall U) látið her hvítan | hollr gramr rekinn framðan, i.e. hollr gramr, látið hvítan rekinn fal framðan her ‘loyal lord, you let the white inlaid spear-socket (‘man’ W, ‘fall’ U) be advanced to (or: for) the army’ which makes no sense in the context. The reading lætr of her (so earlier eds) is taken over from the prose commentary (SnE 2007, 13): Ok <í> þriðja fjórðungi er svá, at hollr gramr of her lætr framðan fal hvítan rekinn ‘And in the third couplet it is so, that the loyal lord makes the white inlaid spear-socket advance above the army’. — [5, 6] rekinn fal ‘inlaid spear-socket’: For spear-sockets decorated with inlaid metal, see Falk (1914b, 88-9).


  1. Bibliography
  2. 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.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Falk, Hjalmar. 1914b. Altnordische Waffenkunde. Videnskapsselskapets skrifter, II. Hist.-filos. kl. 1914, 6. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  6. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  7. Konráð Gíslason. 1895-7. Efterladte skrifter. 2 vols. I: Forelæsninger over oldnordiske skjaldekvad. II: Forelæsninger og videnskablige afhandlinger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  8. SnE 2007 = Snorri Sturluson. 2007. Edda: Háttatal. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  9. SnE 1879-81 = Möbius, Theodor, ed. 1879-81. Hattatal Snorra Sturlusonar. 2 vols. Halle an de Saale: Verlag der Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses.
  10. Internal references
  11. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Rǫgnvaldsdrápa 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. 178-80.
  12. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Særeksson (Sjáreksson), Þórálfs drápa Skólmssonar 4’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 240.

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