11th century; volume 3; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;
Fragment (Frag) - 1
Norðrsetudrápa (Norðrdr) - 3
Four fragmentary dróttkvætt stanzas are ascribed to a certain Sveinn (Sveinn), about whom nothing else is known: two in SnE mss, and two in TGT. SnE mss record of st. 2: Svá sagði Sveinn í Norðrsetudrápu ‘So said Sveinn in Norðrsetudrápa’ (SnE 1998, I, 39), giving the name of the poem. Although the poem title is not mentioned apropos any of the other stanzas, the common subject-matter of sts 1-3 indicates that they probably all belonged to this drápa. The fourth stanza is treated here as belonging to a different poem (Sveinn Frag 1). Norðrseta (pl. ‑setur) was the name of an area to the north of the Western Settlement in Greenland, where the best hunting grounds were located, and where people also obtained driftwood (Ólafur Halldórsson 1993). The poem describes the kind of wild weather that one would be likely to encounter in Greenland, so it seems reasonable to consider Sveinn as either an inhabitant of Greenland or an Icelander who had visited the colony. Editors have conventionally suggested a date in the eleventh century for Sveinn, and this seems reasonable; cf. Jakob Benediktsson’s (1981) proposal that Hafgerðingadrápa ‘Tremendous waves’ drápa’ (Anon HafgIV), also about stormy sea-travel to Greenland, dates from the second half of the eleventh century.
Margaret Clunies Ross 2017, ‘ Sveinn, Norðrsetudrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 398. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1408> (accessed 29 January 2022)
Skj: Sveinn: Norðrsetudrápa (AI, 418, BI, 387-388); stanzas (if different): 4
in texts: Gramm, LaufE, Skm, SnE, TGT
SkP info: III, 398
See Biography. The three extant fragments of Sveinn’s Norðrsetudrápa ‘Drápa of the Northern Settlement’ (Sveinn Norðrdr) were presumably part of a much longer poem in dróttkvætt metre with a refrain about the experience of cold, stormy weather in northern Greenland. The circumstances of its composition are unknown. Stanzas 1 and 2 are extant in mss of SnE, st. 1 in mss R, Tˣ, W and B and st. 2 in mss R, Tˣ, W, U, and B. Ms. 744ˣ, a post-medieval copy of B, has been used selectively in places where B is illegible. Stanza 3 is extant in mss W and A of TGT. Ms. R has been used as the main ms. for sts 1 and 2, and A for st. 3.