Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorkell hamarskáld (Þham)

12th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

1. Magnússdrápa (Magndr) - 5

Skj info: Þórkell hamarskáld, Islandsk skjald, omkr. 1100. (AI, 438-9, BI, 407-9).

Skj poems:
1. Magnúsdrápa
2. Lausavísur

Þorkell hamarskáld (Þham) is unknown. His nickname implies that he came from a farm called Hamarr (meaning ‘Crag’; Finnur Jónsson 1907, 246) or that he might have composed about a person with the nickname hamarr ‘Hammer’ (Lind 1920-1, 134). Þorkell must have stayed in Norway prior to 1066, because he composed a poem about Eysteinn orri ‘Black Grouse’ Þorbergsson (d. 1066) whom he seems to have known personally (Skáldatal, SnE 1848-87, III, 269, 286; Mork 1928-32, 279-80). Skáldatal also lists him among the poets of Óláfr kyrri ‘the Quiet’ Haraldsson and his son, Magnús berfœttr ‘Barelegs’ (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 275-6). We do not know whether Þorkell came from Norway or Iceland, but in a helmingr attributed to him in SnE (Skm), he speaks of a gift that a ruler had sent to him of svalan ægi ‘across the cool sea’ (Þham Frag 1/3III), which suggests that he was an Icelander. See also SnE 1848-87, III, 616-18; LH 1894-1901, II, 54-5. In addition to his drápa about Magnús berfœttr and the helmingr in SnE (edited in SkP III), one lv. by Þorkell survives (see Þham Lv below).

Magnússdrápa — Þham MagndrII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Þorkell hamarskáld, Magnússdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 409-14.

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Skj: Þórkell hamarskáld: 1. Magnúsdrápa, o. 1104 (AI, 438-9, BI, 407-8)

in texts: Fsk, H-Hr, Hkr, Mberf, Mork, Orkn

SkP info: II, 409-14

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Vítt dró sínar sveitir
saman stórhugaðr Þórir
— heldr vôrut þau hauldum
haglig rôð — með Agli.
Snǫrp frák á, þvís urpu,
endr Skjalgs vinum, lendir
menn við morðvals brynni,
mein, of afl sér steini.
Great-spirited Þórir gathered his companies far and wide with Egill; those ventures were not very convenient for the freeholders. I heard that great harm formerly befell Skjálgr’s friends because the district chieftains threw a stone beyond their strength against the thirst-quencher of the strife-falcon [RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR].
2 Vestr lét varga nistir
— vann hilmir frið bannat —
— hrǫnn brutu hlýr in stinnu —
hugprúðr fǫru snúðat.
The staunch-hearted feeder of wolves [WARRIOR] set out on a swift journey to the west; the prince prohibited peace; the stiff prows broke the wave.
3 Dunði broddr á brynju;
bragningr skaut af magni;
sveigði allvaldr Egða
alm; stǫkk blóð á hjalma.
Strengs fló hagl í hringa;
hné ferð, en lét verða
Hǫrða gramr í harðri
hjarlsókn banat jarli.
The arrow-point resounded against the byrnie; the sovereign shot with strength; the mighty ruler of the Egðir [NORWEGIAN KING = Magnús] bent the elm-bow; blood spurted onto helmets. The hail of the bow-string [ARROWS] flew into chain-mail; the company fell, and the lord of the Hǫrðar [NORWEGIAN KING = Magnús] caused the earl to be killed in the hard battle for land.
4 Hraustr lét Elfi austarr
allvaldr saman gjalla
— vitr stillir rauð vǫllu —
valskan brand ok randir.
Varð á víg, þars ferðir,
vellmildr konungr, fellu,
— bolr lá gauzkr und gulri
grás arnar kló — þrási.
The brave mighty ruler let the Frankish sword and shields crash together east of the Götaälv; the wise leader reddened the fields. The gold-generous king persisted in battle where troops fell; the Gautish torso lay beneath the yellow claw of the grey eagle.
5 Uppgǫngu réð yngvi
ítr með helming lítinn;
áræði hykk áðan
Eysteins fǫður treystask.
Hôtt gall hjǫrr, en sótti
— hneit egg við fjǫr seggja —
— malmsœkir rauð mæki —
Magnús í lið gǫgnum.
The splendid king advanced ashore with a small unit; I believe Eysteinn’s father [= Magnús] earlier put faith in his courage. The sword resounded loudly, and Magnús advanced through the troop; the blade thrust at the lives of men; the weapon-attacker [WARRIOR] reddened the sword.
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