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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

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

1. Sigurðardrápa I (Sigdr I) - 5

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.

Sigurðardrápa I (‘Drápa about Sigurðr’) — ESk Sigdr III

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr Skúlason, Sigurðardrápa I’ 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. 538-42.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5 

Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 1. Sigurðardrápa (AI, 455-6, BI, 423-4)

in texts: H-Hr, Hkr, Msona

SkP info: II, 538-42

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Vásǫflugr réð vísi
vestr helmingi mestum;
óð at ensku láði
ægis marr und harra.
Stôl lét hilmir hvílask
heiptglaðr ok vas þaðra
(né gramr af Val Vimrar)
vetrlengis (stígr betri).
The tireless leader went west with the largest unit; the horse of the ocean [SHIP] advanced toward the English land beneath the lord. The war-happy prince let the prows rest and was there all winter long; a better ruler will not step off a Valr <horse> of Vimur <river> [SHIP].
2 Ok, sás œzt gat ríki,
ól þjóðkonungr, sólar,
ǫnd á Jákóbslandi
annan vetr, und ranni.
Þar frák hilmi herjar
(hjaldrs) lausmæli gjalda
(gramr birti svan svartan
snarlyndr) frǫmum jarli.
And the mighty king, who got the highest power under the hall of the sun [SKY/HEAVEN], nourished his spirit the next winter in Galicia. There I heard that the protector of the people repaid the outstanding earl for his unreliable words; the keen-spirited ruler cheered the black swan of battle [RAVEN].
3 Húf lét hilmir svífa
hafkaldan — lof skaldi
esat of allvalds risnu
einfalt — í Griksalti,
áðr við einkar breiða
auðlestir skip festi
(ǫld beið ǫll með stilli)
Akrsborg (feginsmorgin).
The lord let the sea-cold ship-side rock in the Aegean—the poet’s praise of the mighty ruler’s magnificence is not one-sided—, before the wealth-destroyer [GENEROUS MAN] moored the ship by the exceedingly large city of Acre; all people awaited that morning of joy with the leader.
4 Getk, þess’s gramr fór vitja
(glyggs) Jórsala byggðar
(meðr vitut ǫðling œðra)
ógnblíðr (und sal víðum).
Ok leyghati laugask
— leyft ráð vas þat — náði
hauka fróns í hreinu
hvatr Jórðánar vatri.
I recount that the war-happy ruler went to visit the settlement of Jerusalem; men do not know a nobler lord under the wide hall of the storm [SKY/HEAVEN]. And the swift hater of the flame of the hawks’ land [(lit. ‘flame-hater of the hawks’ land’) ARM > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] was able to wash himself in the pure water of the River Jordan; that was a celebrated enterprise.
5 Sætt frák Dœla dróttin
— drengr minnisk þess — vinna;
tóku hvasst í Hristar
hríð valslǫngur ríða.
Sterkr braut váligt virki
vals munnlituðr gunnar;
fǫgr ruðusk sverð, en sigri
snarr bragningr hlaut fagna.
I heard that the lord of the Dœlir [NORWEGIAN KING = Sigurðr] captured Sidon; the man [I] commemorates that; catapults began to swing violently in the storm of Hrist <valkyrie> [BATTLE]. The mighty mouth-colourer of the falcon of battle [RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR] destroyed the fearsome stronghold; fair swords were reddened, and the swift ruler could rejoice in victory.
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated