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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

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

III. 2. Fragments (Frag) - 18

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.

Fragments — ESk FragIII

Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr Skúlason, Fragments’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 151.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18 

Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 12. Ubestemmelige vers, tilhørende forskellige fyrstedigte eller lausavísur (AI, 479-82, BI, 451-4)

in texts: LaufE, Skm, SnE

SkP info: III, 151

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Hvargis Beita borgar
bálgrimmustum skála
hôr of hnossvin órum
heims vafrlogi sveimar.
Wherever the high flickering flame of the world’s hall [SKY > SUN] hovers above our treasure-friend, most hostile to the fire of Beiti’s <sea-king’s> stronghold [(lit. ‘most fire-hostile of Beiti’s stronghold’) SEA > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN].
2 Snáks berr fald of frœknu
folkvǫrðr — konungs Hǫrða
frama telr greppr fyr gumnum —
geðsnjallr skarar fjalli.
The quick-witted guardian of the people [RULER] wears the headdress of the serpent [HELMET] on his heroic mountain of hair [HEAD]; the poet recounts the prowess of the king of the Hǫrðar [NORWEGIAN KING] before men.
3 Næst sék orm á jastar
ítrserki vel merkðan
(nemi bjóðr, hvé ferk) flœðar
(fjarðbáls, of þat máli).
Next I see a serpent, well engraved, on the splendid shirt of the yeast’s flood [BEER > DRINKING HORN]; may the donor of fjord-fire [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] learn how I treat that in speech.
4 Glymvindi lætr Gǫndlar
— gnestr hjǫrr — taka mestum
Hildar segl, þars hagli,
hraustr þengill, drífr strengjar.
The brave ruler makes Hildr’s <valkyrie’s> sail [SHIELD] catch the strongest roaring wind of Gǫndul <valkyrie> [BATTLE] where hail of the bow-string [ARROWS] is driven; the sword crashes.
5 Leyg rýðr ætt á ægi
Óláfs skipa sólar
(ylgr brunar hvatt) ins helga
(hrægjǫrn í spor ǫrnum).
The kinsman of the holy Óláfr [NORWEGIAN KING] reddens the flame of the ships’ sun [SHIELD > SWORD] at sea; the corpse-eager she-wolf rushes fast in the track of eagles.
6 Dolgskára kná dýrum
dýrr magnandi stýra
— Hugins fermu bregðr harmi
harmr — bliksólar Garmi.
The splendid strengthener of the battle-gull [RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR] controls the splendid Garmr <dog> of the gleam-sun [SHIELD > WEAPON]; the grief of Huginn’s <raven’s> food [CORPSES > RAVEN/EAGLE] puts an end to its grief.
7 En við hjaldr, þars hauldar,
hugþrútit svellr, lúta,
— Muninn drekkr blóð ór benjum
blásvartr — konungs hjarta.
And the courage-enlarged heart of the king swells at the battle where freeholders sink down; blue-black Muninn <raven> drinks blood from wounds.
8 Sámleitum rauð sveita
— sleit ǫrn Gera beitu —
— fekksk arnar matr jǫrnum —
Jarnsǫxu grǫn faxa.
He reddened the whiskers of Jarnsaxa’s <troll-woman’s> swarthy steed [WOLF] with blood; an eagle tore Geri’s <wolf’s> bait [CORPSES]; food of the eagle [CORPSES] was provided by weapons.
9 Harðr hefr ǫrt frá jǫrðu
élvindr — svana strindar
blakkr lætr í sog søkkva
snægrund — skipi hrundit.
The strong storm-wind has pushed the ship quickly away from the shore; the steed of the land of swans [SEA > SHIP] makes the snow-ground [= Iceland] sink into the sea.
10 Margr ríss, en drífr dorgar
dynstrǫnd í svig lǫndum,
(spend verða stǫg stundum)
stirðr keipr (fira greipum).
Many a firm rowlock lifts, and the roaring beach of the trolling-line [SEA] surges into the bays of the lands; the stays are at times strained in men’s grips.
11 Gráns (bera gollna spônu)
— gǫfug ferð es sú jǫfri —
skýtr holmfjǫturr Heita
hrafni (snekkju stafnar).
The island-fetter [SEA] pushes the horse of the hostile Heiti <sea-king> [SHIP]; the prows of the warship bear golden plates; that journey is glorious for the prince.
12 Haustkǫld skotar héldum
holmrǫnd varar ǫndri.
The autumn-cold island-rim [SEA] shoves the rime-covered ski of the wake [SHIP].
13 Sundr springr svalra landa
sverrigjǫrð fyr bǫrðum.
The swirling girdle of cool lands [SEA] splits asunder before the bows.
14 Viknar ramr í Rakna
reksaumr flugastraumi;
dúks hrindr bǫl, þars bleikir
bifgrund, á stag rifjum.
The strong seam of driven nails flexes in the cascade of Rakni <sea-king> [SEA]; the harm of the sail [WIND] forces the reefs against the stay, where the trembling ground [SEA] goes white.
15 Lǫgr þvær flaust, en fagrir,
— flóðs vaskar brim glóðum —
þars sær á hlið hvára
hlymr, veðrvitar glymja.
The ocean washes the ships, and fair weather-vanes resound where the sea roars on each side; the surf cleanses embers of the flood [GOLD].
16 Kaldr þvær marr und mildum
mart dægr viðu svarta
(grefr élsnúinn) jǫfri
(almsorg Manar þjalma).
Many a day the cold sea cleanses the black timbers beneath the generous prince; the grief of the elm-tree [WIND] carves the storm-twisted enclosure of Man <island> [SEA].
17 Œsir hvasst at hraustum
Himinglæva þyt sævar
— glymr Unnar vex — grenni
Gǫndlar skúfs ok Dúfa.
Brædd strýkr Blóðughadda
— brimsolgin fellr Kolga —
hlýr, þars Hefring stœrir
haflauðr of við rauðan.
Himinglæva and Dúfa violently stir up the howling of the sea against the valiant feeder of Gǫndul’s <valkyrie’s> skua [RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR]; the roar of Unnr increases. Blóðughadda strokes the tarred bows where Hefring increases the sea-foam around the red wood; Kólga falls sea-swollen.
18 Né framlyndir fundu
fyrr, (hykkat lô kyrrðu)
þars sær á við varra
(vini óra) fell stórum.
The confident ones did not discover it earlier, where the sea fell violently on the wood of the wake [SHIP]; I do not believe the wave calmed our friends.
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated