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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þórðr Særeksson (Sjáreksson) (ÞSjár)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

1. Þórálfs drápa Skólmssonar (Þórdr) - 4

Skj info: Þórðr Særeksson, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 327-30, BI, 302-4).

Skj poems:
1. Et digt om Klœingr Brúsason
2. Þórolfs drápa Skolmssonar
3. Róðudrápa
4. Lausavísur og ubestemmelige brudstykker

Very little is known about Þórðr Særeksson (or, in a later form, Sjáreksson) (ÞSjár). Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 257, 274, 281) lists him among the poets of Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson (r. c. 1000-c. 1014) and King Óláfr Haraldsson (S. Óláfr, d. 1030). According to ÓT (1958-2000, II, 322-3) Þórðr went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the reign of Óláfr Haraldsson, and, arriving in Syria, met Óláfr Tryggvason, who is said to have escaped from the battle of Svǫlðr (c. 1000). Óláfr greeted Þórðr warmly and sent his regards to Þórðr’s kinsman-in-law (mágr), the famous Icelander Hjalti Skeggjason. In some mss Þórðr is referred to as Svartsson or svartaskáld, probably from a misreading of his patronymic (see LH I, 603-5 and Introduction to ðudrápa (Róðdr) below). In addition to the poems edited here (Þórálfs drápa Skólmssonar (Þórdr), Flokkr about Klœingr Brúsason (Klœingr) and Róðdr), three fragments of Þórðr’s poetry are preserved in SnE and one in LaufE (ÞSjár Frag 1-4III); these fragments are edited in SkP III. Þórðr’s oeuvre presents difficulties in that the people and events commemorated there span some sixty-five years, from c. 961 (Þórdr) to c. 1026 (Róðdr), so that it must be assumed either that he was exceptionally long-lived or that Þórdr was composed after a lapse of several years or decades; see further Introduction to that poem.

LP: ÞSjár(Sær)

Þórálfs drápa Skólmssonar — ÞSjár ÞórdrI

Kari Ellen Gade 2012, ‘ Þórðr Særeksson (Sjáreksson), Þórálfs drápa Skólmssonar’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 236. <> (accessed 27 January 2022)

 1   2   3   4 

Skj: Þórðr Særeksson: 2. Þórolfs drápa Skolmssonar (AI, 328-9, BI, 302-3); stanzas (if different): 2 | 3 | 4

in texts: Flat, Fsk, HákGóð, Hkr, ÓT

SkP info: I, 236

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


1 Þars bǫðharðir bǫrðusk
bands jódraugar landa,
lystr gekk herr til hjǫrva
hnits í Storð á Fitjum.
Ok gimsløngvir ganga
gífrs hlémána drífu
nausta blakks it næsta
Norðmanna gram þorði.
The army went eager to the clash of swords [BATTLE] at Fitjar on Stord, where the battle-hardened logs of the steed of the chain of lands [(lit. ‘steed-logs of the chain of lands’) SEA > SHIP > SEAFARERS] fought. And the slinger of the fire of the storm of the troll-woman of the shielding moon of the horse of boathouses [(lit. ‘fire-slinger of the storm of the troll-woman of the shielding moon of the horse of boathouses’) SHIP > SHIELD > AXE > BATTLE > SWORD > WARRIOR] dared to advance next to the lord of the Norwegians [NORWEGIAN KING = Hákon].
2 Varði varga myrðir
vítt — svá skal frið slíta —
(jǫfur vildu þann eldask)
ǫndurt folk (at lǫndum).
Starf hófsk upp, þás arfi
ótta vanr, á flótta,
golls, es gramr vas fallinn,
Gunnhildar kom sunnan.
The killer of outlaws [JUST RULER = Hákon] defended the front of the army widely; thus one shall tear apart peace; they wanted that prince to grow old in the lands. The trouble began when the heir of Gunnhildr [= Haraldr gráfeldr] came from the south, bereft of the terror of gold [GENEROUS MAN = Gamli Eiríksson], because the ruler had fallen in flight.
3 Þrot vas sýnt, þás settusk
sinn róðrs við hlum stinnan
— maðr lét ǫnd ok annarr
ófár — búendr sárir.
Ok hjǫrkrafðir hǫfðu
huggendr Munins tuggu
gauks við gjǫlfrum leikna
grunnu* sand í munni.
Exhaustion was obvious when wounded farmers seated themselves by their unbending oar-handle; a man gave up his life, and not a few others. And the sword-claimed comforters of the cuckoo of Muninn’s <raven’s> mouthful [CORPSE > EAGLE > WARRIORS] had sand in their mouths by the shallows, swept by the waves.
4 Afreks veit, þars jǫfri
allríkr í styr slíkum
gǫndlar Njǫrðr, sás gerði,
gekk næst, Hugins drekku.
It signals an exceptional deed when the all-powerful Njǫrðr <god> of battle [WARRIOR = Þórálfr], who prepared Huginn’s <raven’s> banquet [CORPSES], advanced next to the prince in such a battle.
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