Þorbjǫrn dísarskáld (Þdís)
10th century; volume 3; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;
1. Poem about Þórr (Þórr) - 2
2. Poem about a Saint (Saint) - 1
Nothing is known for certain about Þorbjǫrn dísarskáld ‘Lady’s poet’ (Þdís), aside from his name and two fragmentary poetic compositions ascribed to a Þorbjǫrn in mss of SnE. It is not even certain that the Þorbjǫrn to whom two stanzas of a Poem about Þórr (Þdís Þórr) are ascribed (SnE 1998, I, 16-17) is the same poet as the composer of the so-called Poem about a Saint (Þdís Saint, SnE 1998, I, 76). In the first case the poet is named in SnE mss as Þorbjǫrn dísarskáld, but in the second he is called Þorbjǫrn without the nickname. It has been conventionally assumed, and is so here, that both poems were the work of a single poet. If so, he must have lived about the time of the conversion to Christianity (c. 1000) and is likely to have been converted himself, as one poem praises the god Þórr and the other is about the baptism of an unknown man. The significance of the nickname dísarskáld can only be guessed at: possibly Þórbjǫrn was known for his composition of poetry about a lady or, as dís often refers to a supernatural being, he may have celebrated a particular goddess. It is not known whether he was Norwegian or Icelandic, but most earlier editors have regarded him as Icelandic.
Poem about Þórr —
Margaret Clunies Ross 2017, ‘ Þorbjǫrn dísarskáld, Poem about Þórr’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 470. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1427> (accessed 4 July 2022)
Skj: Þorbjǫrn dísarskáld: 1. Et digt om Tor (AI, 144, BI, 135)
in texts: Skm, SnE
SkP info: III, 470
A couplet and a complete dróttkvætt stanza (Þdís Þórr), both probably from a poem celebrating the god Þórr’s powers over giants and giantesses, are recorded in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 16, 17) and attributed to Þorbjǫrn dísarskáld ‘Lady’s poet’. They are quoted along with other poets’ stanzas to exemplify ways of referring to Þórr. Stanza 2, like only two other recorded poems about Þórr (i.e. Bragi Frag 3, Vetrl Lv 1), addresses the god directly in the second person and lists a number of giantesses and giants he has killed (see Lindow 1988 for a discussion).