Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

12th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

3. Haraldsdrápa II (Hardr II) - 5

Skj info: Einarr Skúlason, Islandsk skjald, 12. årh. (AI, 455-85, BI, 423-57).

Skj poems:
1. Sigurðardrápa
2. Haraldsdrápa I
3. Haraldsdrápa II
4. Haraldssonakvæði(?)
5. Sigurðardrápa
6. Geisli
7. Runhenda
8. Eysteinsdrápa
9. Ingadrápa
10. Elfarvísur
11. Lausavísur
11. Lausavísur
11. Øxarflokkr(?)
12. Ubestemmelige vers, tilhørende forskellige fyrstedigte eller lausavísur

We know very little about the life of Einarr Skúlason (ESk). He is called prestr ‘priest’ and is mentioned in a catalogue (c. 1220) of priests of noble birth who were alive in western Iceland in 1143 (Stu 1878, II, 502). It is likely that he came from Borg, belonged to the Mýrar family and was a direct descendant of Þorsteinn Egilsson and a brother of Snorri Sturluson’s maternal grandfather (LH 1894-1901, II, 62-3; ÍF 3, 51 n. 3). He was probably born c. 1090. In 1153, he recited the poem Geisli ‘Light-beam’ (ESk GeislVII) in Kristkirken in Trondheim. He was marshal (stallari) at King Eysteinn Magnússon’s court, and he composed poetry in praise of the Norw. kings Sigurðr jórsalafari ‘Jerusalem-farer’ and Eysteinn Magnússon, Haraldr gilli(-kristr) ‘Servant (of Christ)’, Magnús inn blindi ‘the Blind’ Sigurðarson, Haraldr gilli’s sons, Ingi, Sigurðr munnr ‘Mouth’, and Eysteinn, and about the Norw. chieftain Grégóríus Dagsson (see SnE 1848-87, III, 254-5, 263-4, 269, 276-7, 286). According to Skáldatal, he also honoured the Norw. magnate Eindriði ungi ‘the Young’ Jónsson as well as Sørkvir Kolsson and Jón jarl Sørkvisson of Sweden and King Sveinn Eiríksson of Denmark (SnE 1848-87, III, 252, 258, 260, 268-9, 272, 283, 286). About the latter he recited a poem for which he received no reward (see ESk Lv 3; ÍF 35, 275). The extant portion of his poetic oeuvre consists of the following poems (excluding lvv.): Sigurðardrápa I (Sigdr I, five extant sts about Sigurðr jórsalafari); Haraldsdrápa I (Hardr I, two extant sts about Haraldr gilli); Haraldsdrápa II (Hardr II, five extant sts about Haraldr gilli); Haraldssonakvæði (Harsonkv, two extant sts about the sons of Haraldr gilli); Sigurðardrápa II (Sigdr II, one extant st. about Sigurðr munnr Haraldsson); Runhenda (Run, ten extant sts about Eysteinn Haraldsson); Eysteinsdrápa (Eystdr, two extant sts about Eysteinn Haraldsson); Ingadrápa (Ingdr, four extant sts about Ingi Haraldsson); Elfarvísur (Elfv, two extant sts about Grégóríus Dagsson); Geisli (GeislVII, seventy-one sts about S. Óláfr); Øxarflokkr (ØxflIII, ten extant sts about the gift of an axe).

It must be emphasised that, although the poetry included in the royal panegyrics below clearly belongs to poems of that genre, with two exceptions (Hardr II and Elfv), all the names of the poems are modern constructs (notably by Jón Sigurðsson and Finnur Jónsson). That also holds true for the assignment of sts to the individual poems. In some cases, sts were assigned to a particular poem for metrical reasons (so Run), in other cases because of the content or the named recipients of the praise. For the sake of convenience, the names of the poems and the sts assigned to them as found in Skj have been retained in the present edn. In addition to the royal encomia, a number of fragments and lvv. attributed to Einarr are preserved in SnE, TGT and LaufE (see ESk Frag 1-18III; ESk Lv 7-15III). These have been edited separately in SkP III. Six lvv. are transmitted in the kings’ sagas and edited below.

Haraldsdrápa II (‘Drápa about Haraldr’) — ESk Hardr IIII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr Skúlason, Haraldsdrápa II’ 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. Brepols, Turnhout, pp. 544-8.

 1   2   3   4   5 

Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 3. Haraldsdrápa II (AI, 457-8, BI, 425-6); stanzas (if different): 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

in texts: Fris, Fsk, H-Hr, Hkr, MbHg, Mork

SkP info: II, 544-8

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

This poem in hagmælt ‘skilfully spoken’ metre (see SnSt Ht 70III, SnE 1999, 30, 113), Haraldsdrápa IIDrápa about Haraldr’ (ESk Hardr II), appears to have been composed after Haraldr’s death in 1136 (see the invocation in the last st.). All sts are attributed to Einarr, but sts 4-5, which are cited only in Mork (Mork), are introduced by the abbreviated Oc eɴ s. h. (‘And again says/said he’ (?)). The sts follow directly after two sts by Einarr, and Finnur Jónsson expands the abbreviation ‘h.’ variously as ‘Halldórr’ (Mork 1928-32, 403) and ‘hann’ ‘he’ (Skj A). Because of the metre, it is reasonable to assign the two sts to Einarr. The name of the poem is transmitted as Haraldsdrápa in MbHgHkr (ÍF 28, 286) and H-Hr (Fms 7, 184). Three of the sts (sts 3-5) are recorded only in Mork, and another (st. 1) is given only in F (but could have been part of Mork, which has a lacuna here). Stanza 2 is cited in Mork, in MbHgHkr (, 39, F, E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ), H-Hr (H, Hr) and in Fsk (FskBˣ, FskAˣ). The sts commemorate Haraldr’s escape to Denmark (1134; st. 1), the siege of Bergen (1134-5; st. 2), Haraldr’s sole rule of Norway (1135; st. 3) and two unknown battles in Denmark (sts 4-5; see Hardr I). In Skj, Finnur rearranges the order of the sts because he believed that the two battles described in sts 4-5 took place prior to 1135 (see LH 1894-1901, II, 65). This cannot be ascertained (see Fidjestøl 1982, 154), and in the present edn the sequence of sts follows that of F and Mork. Mork and F are the main mss.
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