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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

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

III. 1. Øxarflokkr (Øxfl) - 10

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.

Øxarflokkr (‘Flokkr about an Axe’) — ESk ØxflIII

Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr Skúlason, Øxarflokkr’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 140.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10 

Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 11. Øxarflokkr(?) (AI, 477-9, BI, 449-51); stanzas (if different): 11

in texts: LaufE, Skm, SnE

SkP info: III, 140

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Þars Mardallar milli
(meginhurðar) liggr skurða
(Gauts berum galla þrútinn)
grátr (dalreyðar látra).
Where the tears of Mardǫll <= Freyja> [GOLD] lie between the grooves; we [I] carry the destroyer of Gautr’s <= Óðinn’s> mighty door [SHIELD > AXE/SWORD], swollen with lairs of the valley-char [SNAKE > GOLD].
2 Eigi þverr fyr augna
Óðs beðvinu Róða
ræfrs (eignisk sá) regni
ramsvell (konungr elli).
The strong ice-sheet of Róði’s <sea-king’s> roof [SHIELD > AXE/SWORD] does not diminish because of the rain of the eyes [TEARS] of Óðr’s <mythical person’s> bedmate [= Freyja > GOLD]; may that king reach old age.
3 Hróðrbarni knák Hǫrnar
— hlutum dýran grip — stýra
(brandr þrymr gjalfrs á grandi)
gollvífiðu (hlífar).
Sáðs (berr sínar móður)
svans unni mér gunnar
fóstrgœðandi Fróða
(Freys nipt bráa driptir).
I possess the gold-wrapped glory-child of Hǫrn <= Freyja> [= Hnoss (hnoss ‘treasure’)]; we [I] received a precious treasure; fire of the surge [GOLD] rests on the harm of the shield [AXE/SWORD]. The provisions-increaser of the swan of battle [RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR] gave me Fróði’s <legendary king’s> seed [GOLD]; Freyr’s <god’s> niece [= Hnoss (hnoss ‘treasure’)] bears the rain of eyelashes [TEARS] of her mother <= Freyja> [GOLD].
4 Nýt buðumk (Njarðar dóttur)
(nálægt vas þat -skála)
(vel of hrósak því) vísa
vǫrn (sævar ǫl-) (barni).
The useful one offered me secure protection; that was close to the ale-hall by the sea; I truly praise that child of Njǫrðr’s <god’s> daughter [= Freyja > = Hnoss (hnoss ‘treasure’)].
5 Gaf, sás erring ofrar,
ógnprúðr Vana brúðar
þing- Váfaðar -þrøngvir
þróttǫflga mér dóttur.
Ríkr leiddi mey mækis
mótvaldr á beð skaldi
Gefnar glóðum drifna
Gautreks svana brautar.
The battle-proud compeller of the assembly of Váfuðr <= Óðinn> [(lit. ‘Váfuðr’s assembly-compeller’) BATTLE > WARRIOR], who displays courage, gave me the mightily strong daughter of the Vanir’s consort [= Freyja > = Hnoss (hnoss ‘treasure’)]. The powerful controller of the meeting of the sword [(lit. ‘meeting-controller of the sword’) BATTLE > WARRIOR] led the girl of Gefn <= Freyja> [= Hnoss (hnoss ‘treasure’)], covered with embers of the road of Gautrekr’s <sea-king’s> swans [SHIPS > SEA > GOLD], to the poet’s bed.
6 Frák, at Fróða meyjar
fullgóliga mólu
(lætr stillir grið golli)
Grafvitnis beð (slitna).
Mjúks (bera mínar øxar
meldr þann við hlyn feldrar)
konungs dýrkar fé (Fenju
fǫgr hlýr) bragar stýri.
I heard that Fróði’s <legendary king’s> girls [= Fenja and Menja] very splendidly ground Grafvitnir’s <serpent’s> bed [GOLD]; the ruler lets the truce for the gold be broken. The wealth of the kind king celebrates the controller of praise [POET]; the fair cheeks of my axe, attached to the shaft, bear that flour of Fenja <giantess> [GOLD].
7 Blóðeisu liggr bæði
bjargs tveim megin geima
sjóðs (ák søkkva stríði)
snær ok eldr (at mæra).
Both snow of the purse [SILVER] and fire of the sea [GOLD] lie on the two sides of the crag of the blood-ember [AXE]; I must praise the fighter of enemies [WARRIOR].
8 Dœgr þrymr hvert, en hjarta
hlýrskildir ræðr mildu
Heita blakks, of hvítum
hafleygr digulskafli.
Aldri má fyr eldi
áls hrynbrautar skála
— ǫll viðr folka fellir
framræði — snæ bræða.
Every day the sea-flame [GOLD] rests on the white crucible-snowdrift [SILVER], and the shield-provider of the prow of Heiti’s <sea-king’s> horse [(lit. ‘prow-shield-provider of Heiti’s horse’) SHIP > SEA-WARRIOR] has a generous heart. Never can snow of scales [SILVER] be melted by fire of the eel’s resounding road [SEA > GOLD]; the feller of armies [WARRIOR] performs all glorious deeds.
9 Ráðvǫndum þák rauðra
randa ís at vísa;
grand berum hjalms í hendi
hvarmþey drifin Freyju.
I received an icicle of red shields [SWORD] from the righteous ruler; we [I] carry the harm of the helmet [AXE/SWORD], covered with the eyelid-thaw [TEARS] of Freyja <goddess> [GOLD], in my hand.
10 Sjá megu rétt, hvé, Ræfils
ríðendr, við brô Gríðar
fjǫrnis fagrt of skornir,
foldviggs, drekar liggja.
They can rightly see how dragons, beautifully engraved, lie near the eyelash of the Gríðr <giantess> of the helmet [AXE > AXE-BLADE], riders of the horse of Ræfill’s <sea-king’s> land [(lit. ‘riders of Ræfill’s land-horse’) SEA > SHIP > SEAFARERS].
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated