This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

login: password: stay logged in: help

Svartr á Hofstöðum (Svart)

volume 8; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

VIII. Skaufhala bálkr (Skauf) - 42

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 28 September 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   41   42 

SkP info: VIII, 982

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

38 — Svart Skauf 38VIII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Svartr á Hofstöðum, Skaufhala bálkr 38’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 982.

‘Það hlægir mig:
þó mun hier koma
ór ætt minni
annarr verri.
Hann mun mann gjöra
margan sauðlausan
og aldri upp giefa
ilt vinna.


This cheers me: another, worse, will nonetheless emerge here out of my family. He’ll make many a man sheepless and never desist from doing harm.

notes: [1-4]: Guðbrandur Vigfússon (CPB II, 610) calls attention to a possible parallel in Virgil’s Æneid (Book 4, l. 625, Mynors 1969, 195): exoriare aliquis nostris ex ossibus ultor ‘arise, some avenger, from our bones’. It comes from a bitter speech by Dido, after Aeneas and his men have sailed away from Carthage and she realises that he has betrayed her. She curses the immigrants from Troy (read human Icelanders) and says that there will always be enmity between them. She hopes that some avenger may arise (read descendant of Skaufhali) from her bones to persecute the settlers of Troy with fire and sword. The parallel is not very close, however, and it cannot be taken as proof that Svartr knew that poem, because examples of sons avenging their fathers abound in Old Norse literature. — [2]: The Rask87ˣ version of this line, normalised as að þó muni koma lit. ‘that yet might come’, is unmetrical. Because of the omission of the adv. hier ‘here’, the h- alliteration found in 603 (hlægir ‘cheers’ (l. 1) and hier (l. 2)) is lost, and we must assume illicit alliteration on k- (see Note to l. 1 above), or, more unlikely, on þ- (Það ‘that’ (l. 1) and þó ‘yet’ (l. 2)). Regardless of where the alliteration falls, the line is unmetrical. For muni ‘might’, see Note to st. 37/6. — [5-6]: The Rask87ˣ version of these lines is equally plausible and can be paraphrased as follows in prose: Hann mun gjöra marga menn sauðlausa ‘he’ll make many men sheepless’.

editions: Skj Not in Skj; Kölbing 1876, 245, Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 234, CPB II, 384, Jón Þorkelsson 1922-7, 159, Páll Eggert Ólason 1947, 68-9.


AM 603 4° (603) 82 - 82  image  
Rask 87x (Rask87x) 115v, 5 - 115v, 8  transcr.  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated