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Runic Dictionary

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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

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

11. Lausavísur (Lv) - 6

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.

Lausavísur — ESk LvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Einarr Skúlason, Lausavísur’ 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. 568-74. <> (accessed 27 January 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6 

Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 11. Lausavísur (AI, 482-5, BI, 454-7); stanzas (if different): 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

in texts: Einþ, H-Hr, Knýtl, Mork

SkP info: II, 568-74

notes: 1-2, 5-7 A2; 4, 8-14 B

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


1 Þér hefk, þengill Mœra,
— þinns vegr mikill — segja,
(ert) svát eigi skortir,
(allfróðr) sǫgu góða.
Eigis Ívarr, bauga
— enn sitt kyrr hjá henni —
fægirjóðr, af Fljóðum
fingrmjór kominn hingat.
Lord of the Mœrir [NORWEGIAN KING = Sigurðr], I have good tidings to tell you, so that there is no lack of it; your glory is great; you are most wise. Reddener of shields [WARRIOR], slender-fingered Ívarr af Fljóðum (‘from Fløan’) has not come here; continue to stay quietly with her.
2 Erlendr hefir undan
allvalds gleði haldit;
gramr, skaltattu, gumna,
Gapamunn of þat kunna.
Hafa munu heiðar jǫfra
hlíðrœkjanda fríðum
— geta verðr þess fyr gotnum —
galdrs nauðsynjar valdit.
Erlendr has fled from the cheer of the mighty ruler; leader of men, you must not fault Gapamunnr (‘Gaping-mouth’) for that. Necessities must have forced the handsome cultivator of the slope of the chant of the chieftains of the heath [(lit. ‘slope-cultivator of the chant of the chieftains of the heath’) GIANTS > GOLD > WOMAN > MAN]; one must recount that before the people.
3 Ekki hlaut af ítrum
Einarr gjafa Sveini
— ǫld lofar ǫðlings mildi
æðrustyggs — fyr kvæði.
Danskr harri metr dýrra
— dugir miðlung þat — fiðlur
— ræðr fyr ræsis auði
Rípa-Ulfr — ok pípur.
Einarr received no gift from precious Sveinn for the poem; people praise the generosity of the fright-shy prince. The Danish lord values fiddles and flutes more highly; that is not good enough; Rípa-Úlfr (‘Úlfr of Ribe’) controls the ruler’s wealth.
4 Oss lét abbatissa
angri firð of svangann,
dygg þótt víf in vígðu
víti fyrðar, gyrða.
Enn til áts með nunnum
(ógnarrakks) á Bakka,
(drós gladdit vin vísa)
vasat stallarinn kallaðr.
The abbess, removed from worries, made us [me] tighten the belt around the flank, although men may reproach the faithful consecrated women [for that]. And the marshal was not summoned to eat with the nuns at Bakke; the lady did not cheer the friend of the battle-brave leader.
5 Austr tók illa kristinn
Jarlmaðr frá búkarli
— grôðr vas kjǫts á kauða —
kiðling, hinns slær fiðlu.
Vǫndr hrǫkk; vámr lá bundinn
(vísmáll) á skip þíslar;
(sǫng leikara lengi
lími harðan príma).
Jarlmaðr, the bad Christian who plays the fiddle, took a kid from a farmer in the east; greed for meat came upon the churl. The whip coiled; the loathsome fellow lay bound on the ship of the wagon-shaft [WAGON]; the eloquent lash sang a harsh service over the minstrel for a long time.
6 Hola bôru rístr hlýrum
hreystisprund at sundi
(blæss élreki of ási)
Útsteins (vefi þrútna).
Varla heldr und vildra
víkmarr á jarðríki
— breiðr viðr brimsgang súðum
barmr — lyptingar farmi.
The spirited woman carves the hollow billow with the bow toward the straits of Utsteinen; the storm-chaser [WIND] fills the swollen sails above the sprit. There is hardly another bay-steed [SHIP] on earth that sails beneath a more precious burden of the deck; the broad rim gains surf-speed for the ship-boards.
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