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Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson (Arn)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Diana Whaley;

2. Hrynhenda, Magnússdrápa (Hryn) - 20

Arnórr jarlaskáld ‘Jarls’-poet’ came from Hítarnes in western Iceland, the son of the prosperous farmer and poet Þórðr Kolbeinsson (ÞKolbI, born 974) and Oddný eykyndill ‘Island-candle’ Þorkelsdóttir, who was the subject of the long-running personal and poetic rivalry between Þórðr and Bjǫrn Hítdœlakappi (BjhítV) which is commemorated in Bjarnar saga Hítdœlakappa. According to that saga chronology, Arnórr would have been born c. 1011/12, and he features as a boy in ch. 23 of the saga, and in ch. 60 of Grettis saga. He went abroad, probably in his early twenties, for he is named in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 258, 267) among the skalds of King Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great) (d. 1035). From the evidence of the memorial poems Rǫgnvaldsdrápa (Arn Rǫgndr), especially st. 2, and Þorfinnsdrápa (Arn Þorfdr), especially sts 3, 4 (cf. Lv 1), he spent several years in the Orkney Islands as poet and intimate of the jarls Rǫgnvaldr (d. c. 1045) and Þorfinnr (d. c. 1065). It is to this that his nickname refers. Arnórr was in Norway during the brief joint rule of Magnús Óláfsson and Haraldr Sigurðarson (c. 1045-6), and his performance of Hrynhenda (Arn Hryn) for Magnús and Blágagladrápa ‘The drápa of Dark Geese (= Ravens (?))’ for Haraldr is the subject of a spirited anecdote (Mork 1928-32, 116-18, Flat 1860-8, III, 321-3, Fms 6, 195-8; referred to below as ‘the Mork anecdote’). The later part of Arnórr’s career is obscure, but there is a second, memorial poem for Magnús, Magnússdrápa (Arn Magndr), and his composition of a Haraldsdrápa (Arn Hardr) in memory of Haraldr (d. 1066) suggests continuing links of some kind with Norway, though he also composed about Icelanders: a fragmentarily preserved poem for Hermundr Illugason (d. c. 1055; Arn HermIII) and a poem for Gellir Þorkelsson (d. 1073) of which Arn Frag 1III might be a remnant. For further outlines of Arnórr’s life and works, see Hollander 1945, 177-83; Turville-Petre 1968, 5-10, 1976, 93-4; Whaley 1998, 41-7.

The majority of Arnórr’s surviving oeuvre takes the form of memorial encomia (erfidrápur) for rulers of Norway or Orkney in the dróttkvætt metre: ten ll. only of Rǫgndr and longer fragments of Magnússdrápa (Magndr), Þorfdr and Hardr. His greatest contribution to the development of skaldic poetry, however, is his authorship of the first known encomium in the hrynhent metre: the Hrynhenda which, since it apostrophises Magnús góði, must predate the memorial Magndr. Arn Frag 1III is in the same metre but probably unconnected (see above). It is possible that Arn Frag 4III is in praise of Knútr inn ríki and the non-royal dedicatees of Herm and Frag 1 have been mentioned above. Arnórr also appears in one recension of Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 262) as a poet of Óláfr kyrri ‘the Quiet’ Haraldsson (d. 1093), and the pres. tense praise of Arn Frag 3III could have been addressed to him, or alternatively to Haraldr in Blágagladrápa. Only one st., Arn Lv 1, seems clearly to be a lv.; it was spoken during a civil conflict in the Orkneys. Herm and the eight other Fragments are printed in SkP III since they are preserved in SnE and LaufE and cannot be certainly assigned to any of the poems in the present volume.

The principal eds consulted in the course of editing Arnórr’s poetry for SkP are listed for each st., and are of two main types: eds of the skaldic corpus (Finnur Jónsson’s in Skj AI, 332-54, BI, 305-27, BI, and E. A. Kock’s in Skald I, 155-65, supported by numerous NN) and eds of the various prose works in which the poetry is preserved. Extracts are also included in anthologies, articles and other works including (with ten or more sts): Munch and Unger 1847, 119-20; CPB II, 184-98; Wisén 1886-9, I, 44-6, 141-2, 199-200 (Hryn only); Kock and Meissner 1931, I, 48-53; Hollander 1945,177-88 (annotated translations only, mainly Hryn); and (with five sts): Turville-Petre 1976, 93-7. Other works containing comment on the poetry are cited as appropriate in the Notes.

file 2006-01-11 - Arnórr Þ reconstructions
file 2007-07-04 - Arnórr mss ordering

Hrynhenda, Magnússdrápa (‘Falling/flowing metre, Drápa about Magnús’) — Arn HrynII

Diana Whaley 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda, 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. 181-206.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20 

Skj: Arnórr Þórðarson jarlaskáld: 2. Hrynhenda, Magnúsdrápa, 1046 (AI, 332-8, BI, 306-11); stanzas (if different): 1 | 2 | 3

SkP info: II, 201-2

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

15 — Arn Hryn 15II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda, Magnússdrápa 15’ 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. 201-2.

Keppinn vannt, þats æ mun uppi,
Yggjar veðr, meðan heimrinn byggvisk;
valgammr skók í vápna rimmu
viðr Helganes blóðugt fiðri.
Yngvi, fekktu ǫll með hringum,
— jarl vissi sik foldar missa —
þjóðum kunnr, en þú tókt síðan,
þeira flaust, við sigri meira.

Vannt keppinn {veðr Yggjar}, þats mun æ uppi meðan heimrinn byggvisk; {valgammr} skók blóðugt fiðri í {rimmu vápna} viðr Helganes. Yngvi kunnr þjóðum, fekktu ǫll flaust þeira með hringum; jarl vissi sik missa foldar, en þú tókt síðan við meira sigri.

You fought, vigorous, {a wind-storm of Yggr <= Óðinn>} [BATTLE], which will always be extolled while the world is peopled; {the corpse-vulture} [RAVEN/EAGLE] ruffled his bloody plumage in {the roar of weapons} [BATTLE] at Helgenæs. Sovereign renowned to men, you seized all their vessels, every one; the jarl [Sveinn Úlfsson] knew he had lost land, and you gained then a greater victory.

Mss: H(12r), Hr(11ra) (H-Hr); Flat(191vb) (Flat); 20dˣ(16v), 873ˣ(16v-17r) (Knýtl)

Readings: [1] Keppinn: ‘Keppir madr’ Hr;    þats æ: þat æ Hr, Flat, þat er ey 20dˣ, 873ˣ    [2] Yggjar: ‘ygiar’ Flat    [3] valgammr: vargr Flat;    rimmu: so all others, ‘‑rímv’ H    [7] þjóðum kunnr: þjóðum kyrr Flat, þjóðkuðr 20dˣ, 873ˣ;    kunnr: kuðr Hr;    síðan: síðar Flat

Editions: Skj: Arnórr Þórðarson jarlaskáld, 2. Hrynhenda, Magnúsdrápa 15: AI, 336-7, BI, 309-10, Skald I, 157, NN §§816 anm. 1, 2019; Fms 6, 85 (Mgóð ch. 40), Fms 12, 137; Flat 1860-8, III, 284, Andersson and Gade 2000, 124, 470 (MH); ÍF 35, 132 (Knýtl ch. 22); Whaley 1998, 173-4.

Context: Sveinn Úlfsson flees from his disabled ships at Helgenæs (Helganes). 

Notes: [All]: The st. is cited from Arnórr ‘i hrynhendu’ (H), ‘i hrunhendu’ (Hr), or í Magnússdrápu (Knýtl mss). — [2] heimrinn ‘the world’: The scansion of l. 2 confirms heimrinn as the original reading. This is striking, as a very early example of a noun with suffixed art. (see further Whaley 1998, 174). — [5] ǫll ... með hringum ‘all ... every one’: Með /at hringum is recorded elsewhere in verse and prose, although not very common. LP: 1. hringr 6 compares með hringum with með bugum ‘with (all its) curves, completely’. The phrase might be compared with Ív Sig 41/4 með stǫfnum ‘from stem to stern’, referring to the clearing of a warship (see also Note to Anon Nkt 28/2), however, and the collocation with allr ‘all’ and the context (Magnús’s capture of Sveinn’s ships at Helgenæs) both here and in Arn Magndr 14/4 would suggest that the sense is of seizing (numerically) all the ships, rather than each ship completely. — [6] jarl ‘the jarl [Sveinn Úlfsson]’: Sveinn Úlfsson, son of the Dan. jarl Úlfr Þorgilsson and of Ástríðr, sister of Knútr inn ríki, hence known also as Sven Estridsson. Appointed Magnús’s viceroy over Jylland, he broke his oaths of loyalty and attempted to establish himself as king (e.g. MgóðHkr ch. 25, ÍF 28, 40-1). See also ÞjóðA Magnfl 5 and ‘Royal Biographies’ in Introduction to this vol.

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated