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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eilífr kúlnasveinn (Ekúl)

12th century; volume 3; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

1. Kristsdrápa (Kristdr) - 4

Skj info: Eilífr kúlnasveinn, Islandsk skjald, 12. årh. (AI, 572-3, BI, 565-6).

Skj poems:
1. Kristsdrápa(?), el. brudstykker af digte(?).
2. Lausavísa(?)
2. Lausavísa(?)

Three helmingar and one couplet are attributed to an Eilífr kúlnasveinn (Ekúl) in mss R, , W, U and A of Skm (SnE). No other poetry by this skald is known, aside from a stanza in FoGT that is said there to be by an Eilífr, and is likely to be by this same poet. Nothing is known of Eilífr’s life, but he is usually assumed to have been an Icelander living at some time in the twelfth century. His nickname kúlnasveinn may mean ‘Fellow with lumps’ (Lind 1920-1, col. 225).

Kristsdrápa (‘Drápa of Christ’) — Ekúl KristdrIII

Margaret Clunies Ross 2017, ‘ Eilífr kúlnasveinn, Kristsdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 130. <> (accessed 24 May 2022)

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Skj: Eilífr kúlnasveinn: 1. Kristsdrápa(?), el. brudstykker af digte(?). (AI, 572, BI, 565-6); stanzas (if different): 5(?)

in texts: LaufE, Skm, SnE

SkP info: III, 130

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


Although no title is provided in any ms. for the four dróttkvætt part-stanzas (Ekúl Kristdr) Skm attributes to Eilífr kúlnasveinn, it is reasonable to assume that they all belong to the same poem, as they are quoted in quick succession there (SnE 1998, I, 77-8) to illustrate kennings for Christ. They are also very similar in style. Their treatment of their subject, use of kennings and general vocabulary has many similarities with Icelandic religious poetry of the second half of the twelfth century. The title of the poem, KristsdrápaDrápa of Christ’, is conjectural, but reflects the stanzas’ subject matter. It is not known whether the poem was actually a drápa with a refrain (stef); if it was, the couplet cited as st. 4 may have functioned in that capacity. The four stanzas are transmitted in mss R (main ms.), , W, U and A. All four part-stanzas were copied by Magnús Ólafsson (most likely from W) as examples of expressions for Christ in the Y version of his Laufás Edda (2368ˣ(107); LaufE 1979, 364-5 and cf. 285), where they are correctly attributed to Eilífr kúlnasveinn (‘kulna sueirn’). The stanzas were also copied in RE 1665(Hh), but neither LaufE nor RE 1665 has any independent value.

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