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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, 967

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

19 — Svart Skauf 19VIII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Svartr á Hofstöðum, Skaufhala bálkr 19’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 967.

Kallar kámleitr         á konu sína
heldr hvasseygður         hunds jafningi:
‘Má eg segja þier         frá mínum ferðum
heldr hrakliga,         sem mier hugr sagði.

Kámleitr kallar á konu sína, heldr hvasseygður, jafningi hunds: ‘Eg má segja þier frá ferðum mínum, heldr hrakliga, sem hugr sagði mier.

The dark-coloured one calls to his wife, rather keen-eyed, a dog’s equal: ‘I can tell you about my travels, rather ignominiously, as my mind told me.

Mss: 603(82), Rask87ˣ(113v)

Readings: [6] frá mínum ferðum: frá ferðum mínum 603, hvað mier hugr sagði Rask87ˣ    [8] sem mier hugr sagði: af ferðum mínum Rask87ˣ

Editions: Kölbing 1876, 244, Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 232, CPB II, 383, Jón Þorkelsson 1922-7, 156, Páll Eggert Ólason 1947, 62-3.

Notes: [All]: Here begins the first part of the fox’s ævikviða ‘life poem’, in which he recounts the events that caused his wounds (sts 19-29). The content of this and the following stanzas has a parallel in Grettis saga, where Grettir’s friend, the cave-dweller Hallmundr, who had been wounded when attempting to steal fish, returns home to his cave, and his daughter asks why he is covered in blood (Gr, ÍF 7, 203): … hann sagði allt sem farit hafði. ‘Skaltu nú heyra til,’ sagði hann, ‘en ek mun segja frá athǫfnum mínum, ok mun ek kveða þar um kvæði, en þú skal rísta eptir á kefli’ ‘… he told everything that had happened. “Now you must listen,” he said, “and I shall tell you about my dealings, and I shall compose a poem about it, and you must carve it on a rune stick”’. Svartr must have been familiar with such episodes and parodied them consciously. See also HallmGr HallkvV (Gr) and ǪrvOdd Ævdr (Ǫrv), especially Ævdr 70/5-6 (Ǫrv 140) fjölð er at segja | frá förum mínum ‘there is much to tell about my travels’. — [3] hvasseygður ‘keen-eyed’: Earlier eds omit the excrescent [u] in ‑eygður (Páll Eggert Ólason 1947 emends to hvasseygr) but this makes the line hypometrical. See Note to st. 13/5. — [4] jafningi hunds ‘a dog’s equal’: See st. 2/3 above. — [6, 8]: These lines appear to have been reversed in Rask87ˣ. The ms. has a mark like a close-bracket after l. 6, perhaps indicating the reversal in line-order. — [6]: Ms. 603 has ferðum mínum (so also Rask87ˣ for l. 8) but this word order is unmetrical because the alliteration then falls on the second lift rather than on the first in an even line.

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