Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Einarr skálaglamm Helgason (Eskál)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Edith Marold;

3. Lausavísur (Lv) - 3

Skj info: Einarr Helgason skálaglamm, Islandsk skjald, d. o. 995. (AI, 122-132, BI, 116-125).

Skj poems:
1. Drape om Hakon jarl
2. Et digt om Harald blåtand(?)
3. Vellekla
4. Lausavísur
4. Lausavísur

Little is certain about the life of Einarr skálaglamm ‘Tinkle-scales’ Helgason (Eskál), except that he came from a noble family from western Iceland. They were descendants of Bjǫrn austrœni ‘the Easterner’, i.e. ‘the Norwegian’, son of Ketill flatnefr ‘Flat-nose’. According to Ldn (ÍF 1, 123), Einarr’s mother was Niðbjǫrg, daughter of an Irish king. Einarr’s brother Ósvífr was the father of Guðrún Ósvífsdóttir, the heroine of Laxdœla saga. A few anecdotes link Einarr to Egill Skallagrímsson. Egils saga (Eg, ÍF 2, 268-73) tells of Einarr visiting Egill and the two talking at length about poetry. The meeting led to a long friendship, which is reflected in similarities between the two skalds’ poetry (de Vries 1964-7, I, 176). A valuable shield given to Egill by Einarr inspired Egill to compose a Skjaldardrápa or shield poem honouring the gift, of which only the first stanza has survived (Egill SkjalddrV).

Einarr must have lived c. 940-c. 990. He presumably spent much of his life at the court of Hákon jarl Sigurðarson in Norway, for whom he composed Vellekla (Eskál Vell) and another poem, Hákonardrápa (Eskál Hákdr). Two stanzas (Eskál HardrIII) that possibly stem from one or more Haraldsdrápur in honour of Haraldr blátǫnn ‘Blue-tooth’ Gormsson indicate that he might have spent time at the Danish court, perhaps as a companion of Hákon jarl. Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 256, 266, 280) mentions Einarr only as one of Hákon jarl’s skalds. Besides these poems, three lausavísur are preserved in Jvs, Fsk, Flat and Eg. The first two are part of a typical skald anecdote about court poetry and its reward, and are preserved in versions that differ sufficiently for them to be printed in both SkP I (Eskál Lv 1a and Lv 2a) and SkP V (Eskál Lv 1bV (Eg 124) and Lv 2bV (Eg 125)). The third (Eskál Lv 3) concerns the death of Þorleifr skúma Þorkelsson (Þskúm), an Icelandic retainer of Hákon jarl, at the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen, c. 985).

According to Jvs (1969, 178-9), Einarr’s nickname skálaglamm ‘Tinkle-scales’ refers to a pair of precious and magically resounding scales (OIcel. skálar/skálir) with which Hákon jarl rewarded him for Vell (see Introduction to Eskál Lv 1-3). This explanation (apparently accepted in Finnur Jónsson 1907, 284) may, however, be a later etymological invention, and skálaglamm could instead derive from OIcel. skáli ‘hall, free-standing house’ either as part of a sky-, breast- or shield-kenning (Lie 1975, 643), or more likely as a ‘loud sound (glamm) in the hall’, in reference to his art of recitation. Jvs (1969, 178) also tells that Einarr earlier had the nickname Skjaldmeyjar-Einarr ‘Einarr of the shield-maiden’. Skjaldmeyjar are armed women who took part in battles (cf. Akv 16), but nothing is known about how Einarr got this nickname. According to Ldn and Jvs, Einarr drowned in Breiðafjörður on a voyage home (Ldn, ÍF 1, 123; Jvs 1969, 205); they add a legend according to which his scales (Jvs), or his shield and his coat (Ldn), wash ashore, inspiring the names of the islands Skáleyjar, Skjaldey and Feldarhólmr.

Lausavísur — Eskál LvI

Margaret Clunies Ross 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, Lausavísur’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 330.

 1a   2a   3 

Skj: Einarr Helgason skálaglamm: 4. Lausavísur (AI, 131-2, BI, 124-5); stanzas (if different): 1 | 2

in texts: Eg, Flat, Fsk, Jvs, LaufE

SkP info: I, 330

notes: 1-2 in Eg; 3 in Jvs.

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

af (prep.) ‘from...’ — 2a/6

andr (noun m.) [°; andrar] ‘ski...’andra 2a/7

1annarr (pron.) [°f. ǫnnur, n. annat; pl. aðrir] ‘(an)other, second...’aðrir 1a/3

3at (prep.) ‘at, to...’ — 1a/2, 3/1

5at (nota) ‘to (with infinitive)...’ — 1a/6

1auka (verb) [°eykr; jók, jóku/juku] ‘(str. intrans.) increase...’ — 2a/1, auki 2a/1

aurr (noun m.) ‘sand or gravel bank, ford...’aur 1a/4

3á (prep.) ‘on, at...’ — 1a/2, 2a/3, 2a/7, 3/3

1árr (noun m.) [°dat. ár; ǽrir/árar, acc. áru] ‘messenger...’æri 3/1

barð (noun n.) ‘prow, stern (of a ship)...’barða 2a/3

baugr (noun m.) [°dat. -i/-; -ar] ‘ring...’baug 2a/4, baugs 3/6

3bera (verb) [°berr; bar, báru; borinn] ‘bear, carry...’berum 2a/7

betri (adj. comp.) [°superl. beztr/baztr; pos. „ góðr adj.] ‘better, best...’betra 1a/6

borð (noun n.) [°-s; -] ‘side, plank, board; table...’ — 2a/3, borðum 2a/3

borðróinn (adj.) — 2a/3

brennvíg (noun n.)brenvígs 3/2

1deyja (verb) [°deyr; dó, dó(u); dá(i)nn] ‘die...’ — 3/6

drepa (verb) [°drepr; drap, drápu; drepinn] ‘kill, strike...’Drepr 2a/5

3ef (conj.) ‘if...’ — 3/6

3eigi (adv.) ‘not...’ — 2a/5

ek (pron.) [°mín, dat. mér, acc. mik] ‘I, me...’ — 1a/3, 1a/6, mér 2a/8, mik 1a/7

eldr (noun m.) [°-s, dat. -i/-(HómÍsl¹‰(1993) 24v²⁴); -ar] ‘fire...’elda 3/4

2en (conj.) ‘but, and...’ — 1a/8

Endill (noun m.) ‘Endill...’Endils 2a/8

endir (noun m.) ‘[end]...’endis 2a/8

2enn (adv.) ‘still, yet, again...’ — 1a/8

2er (conj.) ‘who, which, when...’ — 1a/5, 2a/2, es 2a/6

1ey (noun f.) [°-jar, dat. -ju/-; -jar] ‘island...’ — 3/6

faðir (noun m.) ‘father...’ — 3/8

ferri (adv.) ‘far, further...’ — 1a/8

(noun n.) [°fjár/féar; -] ‘cattle, money...’ — 1a/6

2finna (verb) ‘find, meet...’ — 1a/6, finnum 2a/6

frœkn (adj.) ‘brave, bold...’frœknum 1a/7

fyr (prep.) ‘for, over, because of, etc....’ — 3/2

2fyrðr (noun m.) [°-s, dat. -] ‘man...’fyrða 1a/7

fýsi (noun f.) ‘urge, desire...’fýsinn 1a/7

færa (verb) ‘[bring]...’færi 1a/7

1gera (verb) ‘do, make...’Gerðak 1a/1

1gramr (noun m.) ‘ruler...’gram 1a/6, gram 2a/6, grams 2a/6

haf (noun n.) [°-s; *-] ‘sea...’ — 3/2

hafa (verb) ‘have...’hefi 3/5, hefr 3/5

halda (verb) ‘hold, keep...’haldit 3/8

hinnig (adv.) ‘here, hence...’ — 1a/6

2hlaða (verb) ‘heap, pile...’hlǫðum 2a/3

hlaupa (verb) ‘leap, run...’hlaupum 2a/3

1hodd (noun f.) ‘gold, treasure...’ — 1a/7, hodda 1a/5

hróðr (noun m.) ‘encomium, praise...’hróðri 1a/7

2hverr (pron.) ‘who, whom, each, every...’ — 1a/8

2hyggja (verb) ‘think, consider...’hyggjum 3/7, hykkat 1a/5

hǫnd (noun f.) [°handar, dat. hendi; hendr (hendir StatPáll³ 752¹²)] ‘hand...’hendi 2a/8

iðra (verb) ‘repent...’iðrumk 1a/3

illr (adj.) ‘bad, evil, unwell...’illa 3/5, illrar 1a/2

2inn (art.) ‘the...’in 1a/8, it 1a/8

jarl (noun m.) [°-s, dat. -i; -ar] ‘poet, earl...’ — 2a/1, 3/1

jǫrð (noun f.) [°jarðar, dat. -u; jarðir/jarðar(DN I (1367) 304Š)] ‘ground, earth...’jǫrðu 1a/2

kátr (adj.) [°compar. -ari, superl. -astr] ‘cheerful, glad...’ — 1a/5

koma (verb) [kem, kom/kvam, kominn] ‘come...’Komkat 1a/5

2kveðja (verb) ‘say, greet...’kvað 3/1

linnr (noun m.) ‘snake...’linns 1a/6, linns 2a/6

meðan (conj.) ‘while...’ — 1a/3

meiðr (noun m.) ‘beam, tree...’ — 1a/7

meirr (adv.) ‘more...’ — 2a/8

mildr (adj.) [°compar. -ri/-ari, superl. -astr] ‘mild, gentle, gracious, generous...’mildum 2a/4

2mærr (adj.) ‘famous...’mæri 1a/7

3of (prep.) ‘around, from; too...’ — 1a/1, 1a/4

orð (noun n.) [°-s; -] ‘word...’orði 3/1

rǫnd (noun f.) [°dat. -/-u; rendr/randir] ‘shield, shield-rim...’rand 2a/7, 2a/7

1sami (noun m.) [°-a] ‘°ære, hæder, værdighed; (om hvad det er ...’sama 3/3

1 (pron.) [°gen. þess, dat. þeim, acc. þann; f. sú, gen. þeirrar, acc. þá; n. þat, dat. því; pl. m. þeir, f. þǽ---] ‘that (one), those...’ — 2a/5, þann 1a/2, þann 1a/5, þanns 2a/1, þat 1a/3, Þat 3/1, þat 3/7, þess 1a/5

2sár (noun n.) [°-s; -] ‘wound...’ — 2a/6, 3/4

sárr (adj.) [°compar. -ari, superl. -astr] ‘sore, painful; wounded...’ — 3/4

2seimr (noun m.) [°dat. -i] ‘gold...’seima 3/3

2semja (verb) ‘befit...’ — 3/3

sigr (noun m.) [°sigrs/sigrar, dat. sigri; sigrar] ‘victory...’Sig 2a/4

sitja (verb) ‘sit...’sitr 1a/2

skáld (noun n.) [°-s; -] ‘poet...’skald 1a/8

1skipa (verb) ‘change, place...’skipum 2a/3

skipta (verb) ‘share, divide, exchange...’skiptum 2a/3

skjǫldr (noun m.) [°skjaldar/skildar, dat. skildi; skildir, acc. skjǫldu] ‘shield...’skjald 1a/8, skjǫldum 2a/4

skulu (verb) ‘shall, should, must...’skal 3/6, skalt 3/6

sofa (verb) ‘sleep...’svôfu 1a/4

2spara (verb) ‘spare, withhold...’sparir 1a/7

2spjall (noun n.) [°; -*] ‘destruction, loss...’spioll 3/4

spjǫr (noun n.) ‘spear...’spior 3/4

spjǫrr (noun f.) [°; dat. -um] ‘°strimmel, (hose)bånd, vikler; klæde, tø...’spiorr 3/4

spor (noun n.) [°-s; -] ‘track...’ — 3/4

1spǫrr (noun m.) [°sparrar] ‘°spurv...’spaur 3/4

2stǫkkr (adj.) ‘[swift]...’stǫkkvi 1a/5

sunnan (adv.) ‘(from the) south...’ — 3/2

svá (adv.) ‘so, thus...’ — 2a/5

sveigir (noun m.) ‘brandisher...’ — 2a/5

sverð (noun n.) [°-s; -] ‘sword...’sverði 2a/2, sverðum 2a/2

sœkja (verb) ‘seek, attack...’Sœkjum 2a/1, sotta 1a/6

særir (noun m.) ‘wounder...’særi 3/3

sættir (noun m.) ‘reconciler...’sættis 1a/6

1tíð (noun f.) [°-ar; -ir] ‘time...’tíðar 1a/2

1ulfr (noun m.) [°-s, dat. -i; -ar] ‘wolf...’ulf 2a/2, ulfs 2a/2

Ullr (noun m.) ‘Ullr...’ — 3/1

undvíg (noun n.)undvígs 3/2

2unnr (noun f.) ‘wave...’unn 3/2

út (adv.) ‘out(side)...’ — 2a/7

vaðirmaðr (noun m.) ‘wading man?...’vaðirmenn 1a/4

1valdi (noun m.) ‘ruler...’valda 2a/4

valdr (noun m.) ‘ruler...’ — 3/8

Váfuðr (noun m.) ‘Váfuðr...’Váfaðar 1a/4

veig (noun f.) ‘strong drink...’ — 1a/1

2vera (verb) ‘be, is, was, were, are, am...’er 1a/2, er 2a/5, vôru 3/4

1verða (verb) ‘become, be...’verðr 2a/2

1verðr (noun m.) [°dat. -i] ‘food...’verð 2a/2

verri (adj. comp.) ‘worse, worst...’verra 1a/8, 1a/8

vér (pron.) [°gen. vár, dat./acc. oss] ‘we, us, our...’ — 2a/3, 3/7

2við (prep.) ‘with, against...’ — 1a/4, 1a/7, 2a/3, 2a/8

vigg (noun n.) ‘steed...’viggja 3/7

viggr (noun m.) ‘horse...’viggjar 3/7, viggs 3/2

2vinna (verb) ‘perform, work...’vann 1a/3

virðr (noun m.) ‘man...’virða 1a/1

víðir (noun m.) ‘ocean...’víðis 1a/2

víg (noun n.) [°-s; -] ‘battle...’ — 1a/1

vísi (noun m.) [°-a] ‘leader...’vísa 1a/7

1víss (adj.) ‘wise, certain(ly)...’víst 3/7

væri (noun n.) ‘abode, shelter...’ — 3/1

vǫrðr (noun m.) [°varðar, dat. verði/vǫrð; verðir, acc. vǫrðu] ‘guardian, defender...’vǫrð 1a/2

þar (adv.) ‘there...’ — 1a/5, 2a/2

þars (conj.) ‘where...’ — 1a/5

þás (conj.) ‘when...’ — 3/3

þing (noun n.) [°-s; -] ‘meeting, assembly...’ — 1a/6

þinn (pron.) [°f. þín, n. þitt] ‘your...’ — 3/8

þora (verb) ‘dare...’þorir 2a/2

þrennr (adj.) ‘three(fold)...’þrenna 1a/6

þrot (noun n.) [°-s; -] ‘[Exhaustion]...’þrots 1a/5

þróttr (noun m.) ‘strength, might, valour...’þrótt 1a/5

þú (pron.) [°gen. þín, dat. þér, acc. þik] ‘you...’ — 3/6

2þykkja (verb) ‘seem, think...’þœtti 1a/5, þótti 1a/5, þóttu 1a/6

ǫllungis (adv.) ‘completely...’ — 3/5

ǫr (noun f.) [°dat. -/-u; ǫrvar/ǫrar] ‘arrow...’ǫrva 1a/4

ǫrr (adj.) ‘generous, brave...’ — 1a/4

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