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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Svartr á Hofstöðum (Svart)

volume 8; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

VIII. Skaufhala bálkr (Skauf) - 42

not in Skj

Svartr (desyllabified Svartur) á Hofstöðum (Svart) is named in a first-person epilogue to Skaufhala bálkrBálkr about Tassel-tail’ (Svart Skauf 42/4) but his identity is uncertain. The internal evidence of the language and metre of Skauf, together with circumstantial evidence and an evaluation of the sources, point to Svartr Þorleifsson (d. 1392) from Hofstaðir, Reykhólar, Þorskafjörður, north-western Iceland, as the most likely candidate, though two other members of his family were also named Svartr and associated with Hofstaðir and there are two further traditions about authorship (see Introduction to Skauf). Very little is known about Svartr’s life. He appears to have been severely wounded during a fight at the alþingi in 1361, and the year before he died (1391) he went to Norway (see Storm 1888, 367, 407, 420). He apparently had two sons, Páll and Gísli (Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 222).

Skaufhala bálkr — Svart SkaufVIII

Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Svartr á Hofstöðum, Skaufhala bálkr’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 948.

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SkP info: VIII, 958

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Svart Skauf 4VIII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Svartr á Hofstöðum, Skaufhala bálkr 4’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 958.

Mælti gortanni         við grenlægju:
‘Hvað skulum vinna         vier til þarfa?
Við erum orðin         veiklunduð mjög
hryggsnauð harla         en halar rotnaðir.’

Gortanni mælti við {grenlægju}: ‘Hvað skulum vier vinna til þarfa? Við erum orðin mjög veiklunduð, harla hryggsnauð en halar rotnaðir.’

Filth-tooth spoke to {the lair-lier} [VIXEN]: ‘What should we do for our sustenance? We have become very weak-minded, exceedingly bare on our backs, and our tails have shed their hair.’

Mss: 603(81), Rask87ˣ(112r)

Readings: [1] gortanni: ‘gor‑ganti’ corrected in the lower margin from ‘goranti’ in another hand Rask87ˣ    [2] ‑lægju: so Rask87ˣ, ‘‑lægu’ 603    [4] vier: við Rask87ˣ;    þarfa: þarfar Rask87ˣ    [6] ‑lunduð: so Rask87ˣ, ‘‑lendit’ or ‘‑lendut’ 603    [7] hryggsnauð: ‘hrigg, snaud’ Rask87ˣ    [8] en: og Rask87ˣ;    halar: halir 603, hala Rask87ˣ

Editions: Kölbing 1876, 242, Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 229, CPB II, 383, Jón Þorkelsson 1922-7, 154, Páll Eggert Ólason 1947, 58.

Notes: [2] grenlægju ‘the lair-lier [VIXEN]’: So Rask87ˣ. The 603 variant, ‘grenlægu’ (so also Kölbing 1876), is incorrect. See grenlægja ‘lair-lier’ in st. 5/1 and ANG §409. For a comparable kenning for ‘fox’, see grenbúi ‘lair-dweller’ in GunnLeif Merl II 28/9. — [4] til þarfa ‘for our sustenance’: Lit. ‘for our sustenances, needs’. The Rask87ˣ variant of this line, við til þarfar lit. ‘we two for sustenance’ is also possible. — [5-8]: For similar complaints of old age in European beast fables, see Amory (1973, 9-10). — [6] veiklunduð (n. nom. pl.) ‘weak-minded’: So Rask87ˣ and Jón Þorkelsson (1888). Kölbing (1876) retains the 603 variant (rendered in the ms. as ‘veyklēdt’) but it is not clear how he interprets the word. CPB emends to veyk-lenduð (n. nom. pl.; hap. leg.), which Guðbrandur Vigfússon (CPB II, 610) explains as ‘weak-loined’ (so also Jón Þorkelsson 1922-7 and Páll Eggert Ólason 1947). — [7] hryggsnauð ‘bare on our backs’: Lit. ‘back-bare’. CPB II, 610 suggests ‘shrunk in the back, lean’, but the subsequent reference to hair loss (l. 8) seems to corroborate thin-haired, mangy backs and not ‘lean’. — [8] halar ‘tails’: The emendation is necessary for grammatical reasons (m. nom. pl.) and follows the earlier eds (emendation first suggested by Kölbing 1876).

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