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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þhorn Harkv 6I

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) 6’ 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. 99.

Þorbjǫrn hornklofiHaraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál)

‘Úti vill jól drekka,         ef skal einn ráða,
fylkir inn framlyndi,         ok Freys leik heyja.
Ungr leiddisk eldvelli         ok inni at sitja,
varma dyngju         eða vǫttu dúns fulla.

‘Inn framlyndi fylkir vill drekka jól úti, ef einn skal ráða, ok heyja {leik Freys}. Ungr leiddisk eldvelli ok at sitja inni, varma dyngju eða vǫttu fulla dúns.

The courageous leader wants to toast the Yuletide out at sea, if he alone has his way, and practise {the sport of Freyr <god>} [BATTLE]. [When] young he grew tired of cooking by the fire and sitting indoors, of a warm women’s chamber and of mittens filled with down.

Mss: (60r-v), F(10va), J1ˣ(33v), J2ˣ(34r-v) (Hkr); 51ˣ(2r), FskBˣ(2v-3r), 302ˣ(3r-4v), FskAˣ(8), 52ˣ(3v), 301ˣ(3v) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] drekka: dreka J1ˣ    [4] heyja: heygja J1ˣ, heyja corrected from hefja 51ˣ, 302ˣ, hefja FskBˣ, FskAˣ    [5] leiddisk: ‘læiddz’ J1ˣ;    ‑velli: vísi F, ‑pelli FskBˣ    [6] ok: eða J1ˣ, J2ˣ;    at: om. J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 51ˣ, FskBˣ, 302ˣ    [8] fulla: ‘fula’ FskBˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 25, Skj BI, 22-3, Skald I, 14; Hkr 1777-1826, I, 92, VI, 16, Hkr 1868, 60, Hkr 1893-1901, I, 120, IV, 32, ÍF 26, 112, Hkr 1991, I, 68 (HHárf ch. 15/16), F 1871, 47; Fsk 1902-3, 8-9, ÍF 29, 61 (ch. 2); Möbius 1860, 228-9, Jón Helgason 1946, 136-7, Jón Helgason 1968, 16-17.

Context: In Fsk, as for st. 1. In Hkr, the stanza is offered in support of an account of how Haraldr over the course of a winter regained control of Vingulmǫrk (in Viken) and harried in Ranríki (Bohuslän).

Notes: [4] leik Freys ‘the sport of Freyr <god> [BATTLE]’: Snorri apparently understood the kenning to mean ‘battle’, given that he cites the stanza in evidence of Haraldr’s war-making over the winter. Since Freyr is not generally known as a god of war but rather of fertility, it has been suggested (by Ólafur Briem: see ÍF 26, 112) that this may instead refer to some fertility rite associated with Yule. Yet leikr is not otherwise known to have the meaning ‘sacrifice, offering’ that its cognate OE lāc may have. Toasts were, however, drunk to Óðinn, Njǫrðr and Freyr at Yule, as observed in Hkr (ÍF 26, 168). Hkr 1991 suggests as an alternative that ‘Freyr’s sport’ is love, but this would seem to contradict the point of the stanza, which is that Haraldr has never cared for ease and pleasure. — [5] ungr ‘[when] young’: Sueti (1884, 26) would delete ungr on metrical grounds; cf. Sievers (1879, 296). — [5] eldvelli ‘cooking by the fire’: The translation (so ÍF 26; Hkr 1991) is a conjecture, as velli (presumably n. acc. sg.) is otherwise unattested (cf. vella f. ‘boiling heat’), and the resulting cpd is unusual. It is not clear whether the word refers to cooking food or warming oneself by the fire. Jón Helgason (1946, 136) suggests that the word could refer to a vessel for boiling meat, so that the passage would mean that Haraldr spurned the comfort of cooked food (cf. HHund II 7-9).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  4. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  6. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  7. Fsk 1902-3 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1902-3. Fagrskinna: Nóregs kononga tal. SUGNL 30. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  9. Sievers, Eduard. 1879. ‘Beiträge zur Skaldenmetrik II’. BGDSL 6, 264-376.
  10. Möbius, Theodor. 1860. Edda Sæmundar hins fróða. Mit einem Anhang bisher ungedruckter Gedichte. Leipzig: Hinrichs.
  11. Jón Helgason, ed. 1968. Skjaldevers. 3rd edn. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  12. Jón Helgason. 1946. ‘Haraldskvæði’. Tímarit Máls og menningar, 131-46.
  13. Sueti, Friedrich. 1884. Ueber die auf den König Haraldr Hárfagri bezüglichen Gedichtfragmente in der norwegischen Königschronik Fagrskinna. Leipzig: August Press.
  14. Hkr 1777-1826 = Schöning, Gerhard et al., eds. 1777-1826. Heimskringla edr Noregs konunga-sögor. 6 vols. Copenhagen: Stein.
  15. Hkr 1868 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1868. Heimskringla eller Norges kongesagaer af Snorre Sturlassøn. Christiania (Oslo): Brøgger & Christie.
  16. Internal references
  17. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ 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].
  18. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Fagrskinna (Fsk)’ 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, pp. clix-clxi.
  19. Not published: do not cite (HHárfII)
  20. Not published: do not cite ()

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