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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, 973

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

27 — Svart Skauf 27VIII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Svartr á Hofstöðum, Skaufhala bálkr 27’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 973.

‘Mier kom á síðu         mikill stafs endi;
mátta eg hvergi         undan hlaupa.
Þá brotnuðu         þrjóts fyrir skafti
um þvert þungliga         þrjú rifin í mier.

‘Mikill endi stafs kom á síðu mier; eg mátta hvergi hlaupa undan. Þá brotnuðu um þvert þrjú rifin í mier þungliga fyrir skafti þrjóts.

‘The large end of the stick hit my side; I couldn’t escape anywhere. Then three ribs broke right across inside me, painfully, because of the shaft of the stubborn one.

Mss: 603(82), Rask87ˣ(114v)

Readings: [2] endi: so Rask87ˣ, endir 603    [4] hlaupa: so Rask87ˣ, ‘hlida’ 603    [6] þrjóts: so Rask87ˣ, þegns 603    [8] þrjú: om. Rask87ˣ

Editions: Kölbing 1876, 244, Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 233, CPB II, 383, Jón Þorkelsson 1922-7, 157, Páll Eggert Ólason 1947, 65,

Notes: [2] endi (m. nom. sg.) ‘end’: So Rask87ˣ and Páll Eggert Ólason (1947), Jón Þorkelsson (1922-7). The other eds retain the 603 reading, endir, which can only be construed as m. nom. sg. ‘end, finish, conclusion’ and makes little sense in the context (see also st. 28/4). — [4] hlaupa undan ‘escape’: Lit. ‘run away’. So Rask87ˣ and adopted by Jón Þorkelsson (1888; 1922-7), Páll Eggert Ólason (1947) and in the present edn. Ms. 603 has ‘hlida’ (rendered as hlíða by Kölbing and hliða in CPB), which must be the weak verb hliða ‘turn aside, back’, and requires suspended resolution on the second lift. Jón Þorkelsson (1888; 1922-7 followed by Páll Eggert Ólason 1947) changes the word order in this line from undan hlaupa to hlaupa undan to achieve alliteration on h- (alliterating with hvergi ‘anywhere’, l. 3), but that emendation is unnecessary if we assume that l. 3 is a Type C with vowel alliteration on eg ‘I’. — [6] þrjóts ‘of the stubborn one’: So Rask87ˣ. Þegns ‘of the man’ (603) is also possible but looks like a lectio facilior. — [8] þrjú ‘three’: Rask87ˣ omits this numeral, which leaves the line without alliteration.

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