This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

login: password: stay logged in: help

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.

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

Diana Whaley 2009, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 2 December 2021)

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, 205

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

19 — Arn Hryn 19II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda, Magnússdrápa 19’ 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, p. 205.

Eyðendr, fregnk, at elska þjóðir
— inndrótt þín es hǫfð at minnum —
grœði lostins goði it næsta
geima Vals í þessum heimi.

Fregnk, at þjóðir elska {eyðendr {Vals geima}}, lostins grœði, it næsta goði í þessum heimi; inndrótt þín es hǫfð at minnum.

I hear that people love {the clearer {of the Valr <horse> of the ocean}} [SHIP > SEA-WARRIOR], lashed by the swell, next after God in this world; your personal troop is held in memory.

Mss: Mork(5v) (Mork); Flat(196va) (Flat); H(33r), Hr(24ra) (H-Hr)

Readings: [1] Eyðendr: ‘Eydíndr’ Hr;    fregnk (‘fregn ec’): frá ek H, Hr    [2] inndrótt: en drótt Flat;    at minnum: at mínum Flat, ‘at míníum’ Hr

Editions: Skj: Arnórr Þórðarson jarlaskáld, 2. Hrynhenda, Magnúsdrápa 19: AI, 337, BI, 310-11, Skald I, 158; Mork 1928-32, 118, Andersson and Gade 2000, 167, 475 (MH); Flat 1860-8, III, 322 (MH); Fms 6, 197 (HSig ch. 24), Fms 12, 148; Whaley 1998, 179-81.

Context: As for sts 3, 16, 17, and 18. In Mork and Flat, there are no introductory words, since sts 18 and 19 are treated as one st., while in H-Hr a brief link is inserted.

Notes: [1] eyðendr ‘the clearer’: Lit. ‘the clearers’. Þjóðir ‘people’ is the subject, and eyðendr object, to elska ‘love’. Eyðendr is grammatically pl. and forms a kenning with vals geima ‘the Valr <horse> of the ocean [SHIP]’ (l. 4). The sea-warrior disables his enemies’ ships by clearing them of crew and equipment in battle. This is the only example in ON poetry of a kenning formed from eyðandi and a determinant meaning ‘ship’. The reference of the kenning is slightly difficult to determine. (a) The pl. is assumed to have sg. meaning here, referring to Magnús (so Finnur Jónsson, who translates søkrigeren ‘the sea-warrior’ in Skj B). There are other examples of this phenomenon amongst kennings for ‘man’ built on pres. participles, including ættstýrǫndum (dat. pl.), lit. ‘rulers of men’, which seems to refer to Haraldr alone in Arn Hardr 16/6 (see Note). The abrupt transition to the grammatically sg. þín ‘your’ in l. 2 is not a difficulty: compare fórt ‘you (sg.) went’ and kynduð ‘you (pl.) kindled’ in st. 12, or fenguð ‘you (pl.) furnished’ and lætr þú ‘you (sg.) allow’ in st. 14. (b) It has been suggested that eyðendr Vals geima ‘clearers of the Valr of the ocean’ refers to the two kings Haraldr and Magnús (CPB II, 188 n.), but the sg. þú in l. 2 and the focus on Magnús throughout the poem render this unlikely. — [1] fregnk ‘I hear’: The pret. variant frák (so H, Hr) would give equally good sense. — [4] Vals geima ‘of the Valr <horse> of the ocean [SHIP]’: Valr, also a noun meaning ‘falcon’, occurs as the name of a horse, and is frequent in ship-kennings on the pattern ‘horse of the sea’ (see LP: 1. valr and 2. Valr). See also Þfagr Sveinn 7/7, Ólhv Hryn 8/6.

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