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Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson (Arn)

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

3. Magnússdrápa (Magndr) - 19

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.

Magnússdrápa (‘Drápa about Magnús’) — Arn MagndrII

Diana Whaley 2009, ‘ Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, 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. 206-29. <> (accessed 27 May 2022)

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

Skj: Arnórr Þórðarson jarlaskáld: 3. Magnúsdrápa (AI, 338-43, BI, 311-15); stanzas (if different): 13 | 14

SkP info: II, 225-6

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

16 — Arn Magndr 16II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Magnússdrápa 16’ 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. 225-6.

Uppgǫngu vann yngvi
arflógandi gnóga;
gerði hilmir Hǫrða
hjǫrþey á Skáneyju.

Arflógandi yngvi vann gnóga uppgǫngu; {hilmir Hǫrða} gerði {hjǫrþey} á Skáneyju.

The wealth-squandering sovereign launched an ample advance ashore; {the prince of the Hǫrðar} [NORWEGIAN KING = Magnús] caused {a thawing wind of swords} [BATTLE] on Skåne (Skáney).

Mss: H(12v), Hr(11ra) (H-Hr); Flat(191vb) (Flat); FskBˣ(59r), 51ˣ(53v)

Readings: [2] arf‑: so FskBˣ, 51ˣ, ítr H, Hr, týr Flat;    ‑lógandi: log Flat    [3] Hǫrða: harða Hr, ‘o᷎rda’ Flat    [4] á: í Flat

Editions: Skj: Arnórr Þórðarson jarlaskáld, 3. Magnúsdrápa 16: AI, 342, BI, 315, Skald I, 160, NN §2520; Fms 6, 87 (Mgóð ch. 40), Fms 12, 138; Flat 1860-8, III, 283, Andersson and Gade 2000, 124, 470 (MH); Fsk 1902-3, 215 (ch. 42), ÍF 29, 225 (ch. 50); Whaley 1998, 212-14.

Context: In H-Hr, Magnús pursues Sveinn and his surviving troops to Skåne (Skáney), going ashore and ravaging there. In Fsk, the context is similar, although it is not suggested that Magnús was pursuing Sveinn. In Flat, the st. follows immediately st. 13 and ÞjóðA Magnfl 17.

Notes: [All]: Fsk Aˣ lacks this st. and the introduction to st. 17, so that the sentences about the raid on Skáney are incongruously followed by st. 17, about the raid on Falster (Falstr). — [1, 2] gnóga uppgǫngu ‘an ample advance ashore’: It is unnecessary to emend to m. acc. sg. gnógan, and to construe it with hjǫrþey ‘battle’ (as in Skj B and LP: gnógr). There are close textual parallels to Arn Hardr 10/1 and Þham Magndr 5/1. — [2] arflógandi ‘wealth-squandering’: The pres. part. lógandi ‘destroying, squandering’ demands a suitable object. (a) The FskBˣ reading arf-, from arfr ‘inheritance, hereditary treasure’ is confirmed in 51ˣ and is the best candidate, giving the sense ‘squandering his inherited treasure (by giving it lavishly)’, cf. the kenning hoddlógendr ‘squanderers of the treasure-hoard’ (HaukrV Ísldr 2/4IV). Arflógandi could either be an adjectival pres. part., as assumed here, or a kenning, standing in apposition to yngvi ‘sovereign’ (l. 1). (b) Ítrlógandi ‘splendidly squandering/destroying’ in H-Hr would not make sense in the absence of an explicit object such as ‘treasure’, and it may be a corruption due to the influence of the similar Arn Hardr 10/1-2. (c) The reading of Flat, ‘tyr log’, is clearly corrupt. (d) Emendation, to auð(lógandi) ‘wealth(-destroying)’ as in Skj B and LP or to ýs ‘of the yew(-bow)’ in Skald and NN §2520 is not necessary.

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