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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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 20 May 2022)

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SkP info: VIII, 970

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

22 — Svart Skauf 22VIII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Svartr á Hofstöðum, Skaufhala bálkr 22’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 970.

‘Rietti hann trýni,         rak upp sjónir,
og kendi þegar,         hvar eg keifaða.
Mier kom heldr í hug,         hvað hann vildi;
vatt eg af mier         vænni byrði.

‘Hann rietti trýni, rak upp sjónir, og kendi þegar, hvar eg keifaða. Kom heldr í hug mier, hvað hann vildi; eg vatt vænni byrði af mier.

‘He stretched out his snout, turned up his eyes and discovered at once where I was struggling along. It rather came into my mind what he wanted; I threw the handsome burden off me.

Mss: 603(82), Rask87ˣ(114r)

Readings: [2] rak: so Rask87ˣ, en rekr 603    [3] og: om. Rask87ˣ;    kendi: þekti 603, Rask87ˣ    [4] keifaða: skrefaði Rask87ˣ    [5] heldr í hug: til hugar Rask87ˣ    [6] hvað hann vildi: so Rask87ˣ, hvað hann mundi vilja 603    [8] vænni: borinni Rask87ˣ

Editions: Kölbing 1876, 244, Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 231, CPB II, 383, Jón Þorkelsson 1922-7, 157, Páll Eggert Ólason 1947, 63-4.

Notes: [1] trýni ‘his snout’: So both mss. Kölbing (1876) and Jón Þorkelsson (1922-7) read ‘trynr’ (Jón Þorkelsson 1888 ‘hrynr’) in 603, but the ms. has ‘trȳi’. — [2] rak (3rd pers. sg. pret. indic.) ‘turned’: So Rask87ˣ, which is metrically preferable, being a regular line of Type A, and all the other finite verbs in this stanza are in the pret., while rekr ‘turns’ in 603 is 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. All earlier eds retain the 603 reading. — [3] kendi ‘discovered’: The line lacks alliteration, and the emendation (first suggested in CPB) is in keeping with the earlier eds (except Kölbing 1876). Þekti ‘discovered’ (so both mss) must have been introduced at some point to achieve double alliteration on þ-. — [4] keifaða ‘was struggling along’: CPB II, 610 glosses this as ‘walk wearily, as reeling under a burden’, i.e. depicting the fox as carrying off his prey like a wolf or bear. Ms. Rask87ˣ’s skrefaði ‘strode with long steps’ appears to have been influenced by the same verb in st. 23/4 below. The ‑i ending in Rask87ˣ is a later form, and not very common in the C14th (see ANG §534 and Björn K. Þórólfsson 1925, 61). Keifa is not otherwise recorded in Old Norse, but cf. ModIcel. keifa ‘drag oneself forwards’ and ModNorw. keivete ‘awkward, clumsy’. — [5] kom heldr í hug mier ‘it rather came into my mind’: The Rask87ˣ variant of this line, mier kom til hugar lit. ‘to me came to mind’ is also possible, but metrically more awkward, with suspended resolution on the second lift. — [6] hvað hann vildi ‘what he wanted’: So Rask87ˣ. Hvað hann mundi vilja ‘what he might want’ (603, followed by all earlier eds) is hypermetrical. — [7] vatt ‘threw’: 1st pers. sg. pret. indic. of the strong verb vinda in the sense ‘throw’ (Heggstad et al. 2008: vinda 3). — [8] vænni ‘handsome’: Borinni ‘the carried’ (Rask87ˣ) clearly represents an attempt to achieve double alliteration in an even line (incorrectly so), but leaves the preceding odd line (l. 7) without alliteration.

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