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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, 980

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

36 — Svart Skauf 36VIII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Svartr á Hofstöðum, Skaufhala bálkr 36’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 980.

‘Nú tekr elli         að mier sækja;
má eg alls ekki         á mig treysta:
farinn fráleikur,         fitskór troðnir,
tenn sljófgaðar         en toppr ór enni.

‘Nú tekr elli sækja að mier; eg má alls ekki treysta á mig: fráleikur farinn, fitskór troðnir, tenn sljófgaðar en toppr ór enni.

‘Now old age begins to attack me; I cannot trust in myself at all: swiftness gone, skin-shoes downtrodden, teeth dulled and the tuft [fallen] from my forehead.

Mss: 603(82), Rask87ˣ(115r)

Readings: [2] mier: á mig að Rask87ˣ    [3] alls: om. Rask87ˣ    [5] farinn: farinn er Rask87ˣ;    fráleikur: færleikur Rask87ˣ    [6] fitskór: ‘fitkor’ 603, fæturnar Rask87ˣ;    troðnir: troðnar Rask87ˣ    [7] tenn: tennur Rask87ˣ    [8] en: og Rask87ˣ;    toppr: ‘tæpp \er/’ Rask87ˣ

Editions: Kölbing 1876, 245, Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 234, CPB II, 384, Jón Þorkelsson 1922-7, 159, Páll Eggert Ólason 1947, 68.

Notes: [All]: The sentiments expressed in this stanza resemble Egill Skallagrímsson’s lament about old age; see Egill Lv 46V (Eg 130). — [2] sækja að mier ‘attack me’: Að sœkja á mier ‘to attack me’ (Rask87ˣ) is also a possible reading. For the unusual placement of the alliteration on the proclitic prep. in position 1, see Note to st. 6/8. — [3] alls ‘at all’: The adv. is omitted in Rask87ˣ, which is syntactically and metrically possible. — [5] farinn ‘gone’: Rask87ˣ adds er ‘is’. This appears to be a later addition since the finite verbs are omitted with the past participles in ll. 6-7 as well. — [5] fráleikur ‘swiftness’: Færleikur ‘vigour’ (Rask87ˣ) is an equally good reading. For the excrescent [u], see Note to st. 13/5. — [6] fitskór ‘skin-shoes’: Shoes made from fit ‘the skin of an animal’s hoof or shank’ (see Fritzner: fitskór; ‘fitkor’ 603 is a scribal error). Fæturnar ‘the feet’ (Rask87ˣ) is clearly a lectio facilior, and unmetrical as well. — [7] tenn ‘teeth’: Tennur ‘teeth’ (Rask87ˣ) is a later form (see Björn K. Þórólfsson 1925, 28 and Bandle 1956, 261). — [8] toppr ór enni ‘the tuft [fallen] from my forehead’: See Rv Lv 4/2II.

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