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 a Saint —
Margaret Clunies Ross 2017, ‘ Þorbjǫrn dísarskáld, Poem about a Saint’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 472. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1428> (accessed 5 August 2021)
Skj: Þorbjǫrn dísarskáld: 2. Et helgendigt(?) (AI, 144, BI, 135); stanzas (if different): [v]
in texts: LaufE, Skm, SnE
SkP info: III, 472
This dróttkvætt helmingr (Þdís Saint) records the baptism of an unknown man, not that of a saint, as its title, following Skj, implies. It is cited in mss R, Tˣ, W, U and A of Skm to exemplify kennings for ships, and is the last example given before Snorri turns to kennings for Christ. Ms. R is the main ms.