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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, 984

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

42 — Svart Skauf 42VIII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Svartr á Hofstöðum, Skaufhala bálkr 42’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 984.

Hefir bálk þennan         og barngælur
sett og samið         Svartr á Hofstöðum
mier til gamans         en meinþurðar
meingi ófróðu;         mun eg nú þagna.

Svartr á Hofstöðum hefir sett og samið þennan bálk og barngælur til gamans mier en meinþurðar ófróðu meingi; nú mun eg þagna.

Svartr from Hofstaðir has composed and put together this poem and nursery rhymes for the pleasure of myself and [for] the entertainment of an uneducated multitude; now I shall be silent.

Mss: Rask87ˣ(116r)

Readings: [6] meinþurðar: mannþurðar Rask87ˣ

Editions: Kölbing 1876, 246, Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 235, CPB II, 384, Jón Þorkelsson 1922-7, 159-60, Páll Eggert Ólason 1947, 70.

Notes: [All]: The stanza is transmitted in Rask87ˣ only. — [2] barngælur ‘nursery rhymes’: This word is in the pl. (sg. barngæla), and it is not clear whether it is used with a sg. meaning here, referring to Skauf, or to other and different compositions by Svartr. — [3-4]: Rendered by Kölbing (1876) and in CPB as ort ófimliga | Einarr fóstri lit. ‘composed unskilfully Einarr fóstri (‘Fosterer’)’ in accordance with the helmingr as cited in Björn á Skarðsá’s Grænlandsannáll (Finnur Magnússon, Rafn et al., 1838-45, I, 112; see Biography and Introduction above). — [6] en ‘and’: Corrected to og ‘and’ in the right margin in another hand. — [6] meinþurðar ‘[for] the entertainment’: Lit. ‘[for] harm-decrease’. The ms. reading, mannþurðar ‘man-decrease’, makes no sense in the context. The emendation was first suggested by Jón Þorkelsson (1888, 219 n. 3) and adopted by Jón Þorkelsson (1922-7) and Páll Eggert Ólason (1947). — [7] ófróðu meingi ‘of an uneducated multitude’: I.e. the children who will be entertained by the poem and educated by the moral value of animal fables.

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