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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, 961

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

9 — Svart Skauf 9VIII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Svartr á Hofstöðum, Skaufhala bálkr 9’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 961.

Mælti þanninn         móðir dratthala:
‘Matr er ei meiri         mier í höndum:
hál rófubein         og hryggr ór lambi,
bógleggir þrír         og banakringla’.

Móðir mælti dratthala þanninn: ‘Meiri matr er ei í höndum mier: hál rófubein og hryggr ór lambi, þrír bógleggir og banakringla.’

The mother spoke to Dragging-tail in this way: ‘There is no more food at my disposal: slippery tailbones and a backbone of lamb, three shoulder bones and an upper neck bone.’

Mss: 603(81), Rask87ˣ(112v)

Readings: [2] dratthala: so Rask87ˣ, ‘drattala’ 603    [3] ei: so Rask87ˣ, eigi 603    [5] hál rófu‑: ‘en hal’röu’ Rask87ˣ

Editions: Kölbing 1876, 243, Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 230, CPB II, 383, Jón Þorkelsson 1922-7, 155, Páll Eggert Ólason 1947, 59-60.

Notes: [3] ei ‘no’: Lit. ‘not’ (so Rask87ˣ). Eigi ‘not’ (so 603 and adopted by all earlier eds) makes the line unmetrical. — [5] hál rófubein ‘slippery tailbones’: Hál ‘slippery’ is taken as an adj. (n. nom. pl.) here. Kölbing (1876) renders this as halrófubein without comment (so also Jón Þorkelsson 1922-7: halrófu bein). CPB has hala-rófu-bein (followed by Páll Eggert Ólason 1947: halarófu bein), which Guðbrandur Vigfússon (CPB II, 610) glosses as ‘tail bone of a tail’, stating that the first element of the cpd is superfluous and was added to furnish alliteration. Following Rask87ˣ, Jón Þorkelsson (1888) gives hálróu bein without an explanation, and the word hálróu is obscure. ‑Róu could be a short form of ‑rófu (f. gen. sg.) ‘tail’ (see Note to st. 13/2 and Jón Þorkelsson 1922-7 halrófu), but hál- (or hal-) is difficult to make sense of as the first element in this cpd.

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