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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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SnSt Ht 27III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 27’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1133.

Snorri SturlusonHáttatal

Ískalda skark ǫldu
eik — vas súð in bleika
reynd — til ræsis fundar
ríks; emk kuðr at slíku.
Brjótr þá hersis heiti
hátt — dugir sœmd at vátta —
auðs af jarla prýði
ítrs; vasa siglt til lítils.

Skark ískalda ǫldu eik til fundar ríks ræsis; in bleika súð vas reynd; emk kuðr at slíku. {Brjótr ítrs auðs} þá hátt heiti hersis af {prýði jarla}; dugir at vátta sœmd; vasa siglt til lítils.

I cut the ice-cold wave with the oak-ship to the meeting with the powerful ruler; the pale ship was tested; I am renowned for such. {The breaker of precious wealth} [GENEROUS MAN = Snorri] received the noble title of hersir from {the adorner of jarls} [KING = Hákon]; it is fitting to bear witness to that honour; the voyage was not for nothing.

Mss: R(48r), Tˣ(50r), W(143), U(47r) (ll. 1-2), U(52r) (SnE)

Readings: [1] skark (‘skar ek’): so Tˣ, U(52r), skal ek R, braut W, U(47r);    ǫldu: eisu U(47r)    [2] vas (‘var’): varð U(47r)    [3] ræsis fundar: so all others, ‘ræsi[…]’ R    [4] ríks: so all others, ‘[…]íks’ R;    emk: em W;    kuðr: kunnr U(52r);    at: af Tˣ    [5] þá: sá Tˣ    [7] af: á Tˣ    [8] siglt: slíkt W, U(52r)

Editions: Skj AII, 59, Skj BII, 68, Skald II, 39, NN §1307; SnE 1848-87, I, 636-7, II, 371, 385-6, III, 117, SnE 1879-81, I, 4, 77, II, 13, SnE 1931, 228, SnE 2007, 15-16; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 17-18.

Context: The verse-form is called álagsháttr ‘extension’s form’. It is characterised by a concatenation of clauses with sentence boundaries after metrical position 1 in all even lines, with a new clause beginning in position 2 and extending over positions 2-6 and, in l. 2, also comprising the first position of l. 3.

Notes: [All]: The headings are .xx. ‘the twentieth’ () and álags háttr (U(47r)). This is the last stanza of the first category of dróttkvætt (sts 9-27) with variants in clause-arrangement, syntax and lexicon. — [All]: For this verse-form, see also RvHbreiðm Hl 79-80. It occurs frequently in dróttkvætt stanzas, but never systematically. — [1] skark ... ǫldu ‘I cut ... the wave’: In U(47r) braut eisu ‘broke the fire’ (most likely caused by the wording of st. 26/1 above) has been crossed out and skar ek ǫldu has been added in a later hand. — [1] skark ‘I cut’: Skal ek ‘I shall’ has been corrected in R to skar ek (R*). — [2] súð ‘ship’: Lit. ‘seam, suture’ and referring to the overlapping boards in the side of a ship; used here as pars pro toto for ‘ship’ (see Note to Þul Skipa 5/4). — [3] fundar … ræsis ‘the meeting with the … ruler’: Damaged in R, and ‘kvnde’ (or ‘kvnda’) has been added in the right margin in a later hand (not R*). — [5, 7, 8] brjótr ítrs auðs ‘the breaker of precious wealth [GENEROUS MAN = Snorri]’: Snorri visited the Norwegian court during the years 1218-20, and according to the Icelandic annals (Storm 1888, s. a. 1220, pp. 125, 185) King Hákon made Snorri a district chieftain (Storm 1888, 125): Hákon konvngr gǫrði Snorra Stvrlv son lenndan mann. ok þá fór Snorri til Islanndz ‘King Hákon made Snorri Sturluson a district chieftain, and Snorri then returned to Iceland’. See also Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar (E 1916, 503) and Sturlunga saga (Stu 1878, I, 244). — [5] hersis ‘of hersir’: A Norwegian nobleman of a lesser rank than a jarl. Ms. R has hersirs (retained in SnE 2007), which is a late form (see ANG §371 Anm. 4). — [7] af prýði jarla ‘from the adorner of jarls [KING = Hákon]’: Taken here as dat. sg. of the m. agent noun prýðir ‘adorner’ (see Note to ESk Lv 13/6). The form prýði is ambiguous, however, because it could also be f. dat. sg. of the noun prýði ‘adornment, ornament’, in which case prýði jarla ‘the adornment of jarls’ would refer to Skúli and not to Hákon (so SnE 1879-81, I, 109). There can be no doubt that Skúli, who was Snorri’s Norwegian benefactor, was instrumental in providing him with the district chieftainship, and it could be that Snorri’s ambiguous wording was intentional here (see also Wanner 2008, 109). — [8] vasa siglt til lítils ‘the voyage was not for nothing’: Lit. ‘it was not sailed for nothing’.


  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. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  6. Storm, Gustav, ed. 1888. Islandske annaler indtil 1578. Christiania (Oslo): Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond. Rpt. 1977. Oslo: Norsk-historisk kjeldeskrift-institutt.
  7. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  8. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  9. Konráð Gíslason. 1895-7. Efterladte skrifter. 2 vols. I: Forelæsninger over oldnordiske skjaldekvad. II: Forelæsninger og videnskablige afhandlinger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  10. Stu 1878 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon], ed. 1878. Sturlunga Saga including the Islendinga Saga of Lawman Sturla Thordsson and Other Works Edited with Prolegomena, Appendices, Tables, Indices, and Maps. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon.
  11. SnE 2007 = Snorri Sturluson. 2007. Edda: Háttatal. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  12. SnE 1879-81 = Möbius, Theodor, ed. 1879-81. Hattatal Snorra Sturlusonar. 2 vols. Halle an de Saale: Verlag der Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses.
  13. Wanner, Kevin J. 2008. Snorri Sturluson and the Edda: The Conversion of Cultural Capital in Medieval Scandinavia. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  14. Internal references
  15. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar (Hák)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  16. Not published: do not cite (StuIV)
  17. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Skipa heiti 5’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 869.
  18. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Lausavísur 13’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 176.
  19. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 79’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1089.

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