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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyjólfr Brúnason (EBrún)

13th century; volume 3; ed. Katharina Seidel;

Lausavísa (Lv) - 1

Skj info: Eyjólfr Brúnason, Islænder, 13. årh. (AII, 82, BII, 93).

Skj poems:
Lausavísa

Very little is known about Eyjólfr Brúnason (EBrún). He is not mentioned in Skáldatal, and only one helmingr attributed to him has been preserved. Eyjólfr appears to have lived in Iceland in the thirteenth century and to have been a contemporary and possibly a friend of Snorri Sturluson (d. 1241) (FoGT 1884, 127; Skj AII, 82). A lausavisa by Snorri, transmitted in FoGT, calls him ǫrr skǫrungmaðr skilmildra skalda ‘the energetic champions among poets generous with knowledge’ and wishes, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, that Eyjólfr should live ‘the happiest of all truly rich men’ (sælstr sannauðigra manna; SnSt Lv 6/7-8). The accompanying prose text in FoGT (FoGT 1884, 127) describes Eyjólfr as skáld einkar gott ok búþegn góðr, en eigi féríkr ‘a renowned poet and a good farmer but not a wealthy one’, however (see Note to SnSt Lv 6/1; Guðmundur Þorláksson 1882, 156).

Lausavísa — EBrún LvIII

Katharina Seidel 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Eyjólfr Brúnason, Lausavísa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 182.

 1 

Skj: Eyjólfr Brúnason: Lausavísa, o. 1225 (AII, 82, BII, 93); stanzas (if different): [v]

SkP info: III, 182

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — EBrún Lv 1III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Katharina Seidel (ed.) 2017, ‘Eyjólfr Brúnason, Lausavísa 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 182.

Kaupir árr — né eyri
allrífum skal hlífa —
orðrakkr ilja snekkjur
austrœnar sér flausta.

{Orðrakkr árr flausta} kaupir sér {austrœnar snekkjur ilja}; né skal hlífa allrífum eyri.

{The word-bold messenger of ships} [SEAFARER] buys himself {eastern warships of footsoles} [SHOES]; one must not spare abundant money.

Mss: papp10ˣ(41r), 743ˣ(70v-71r marg) (LaufE)

Readings: [4] austrœnar sér: ‘austrer aser’ 743ˣmarg

Editions: Skj: Eyjólfr Brúnason, Lausavísa: AII, 82, BII, 93, Skald II, 50; LaufE 1979, 270, 345 n.

Context: This stanza is cited in LaufE to illustrate a foot-kenning in the section Fót má kenna ‘Foot can be called’.

Notes: [All]: The helmingr appears to be an ironic comment on the purchase of expensive Norwegian shoes (see Note to l. 4 below) by someone who travels by sea and is rather well off. If one accepts the idea that Eyjólfr was an economically poor friend of Snorri Sturluson, Eyjólfr could have composed a stanza, of which only this helmingr has survived, in response to a lausavísa by Snorri (SnSt Lv 6; see Biography of Eyjólfr Brúnason above). This is suggested not only by the ironic content, but also by the use of a seafarer-kenning (qualified by the adj. orðrakkr ‘word-bold’, i.e. ‘eloquent’) and the allusion to the use of money (Snorri’s wealth and extravagance are well documented; see also Máni Lv 4IV and Anon (Stu) 19IV). — [1-2] allrífum eyri ‘abundant money’: In skaldic poetry the adj. allrífr occurs only here (cf. LP: allrífr), and it was translated by Finnur Jónsson as i rigelig grad tilstede og gærne uddelt, (altså passivt; om penge) ‘plentifully available and gladly distributed (passive meaning; about money)’. In prose texts the adj. rífr means ‘something desirable’ (see Fritzner: rífr), but more often the meaning ‘something acceptable’ can be inferred from the examples given (cf. ONP: rífr). The Old Norse noun derives from Lat. aureus ‘golden’ (a Roman gold coin) and means an ounce (of silver) or ‘money, wealth, coins, currency’ (LP, ONP: eyrir). Since there is no specific information given in this helmingr as to exactly what eyri refers to here, one can only assume that the word denotes ‘money’ in general. Hence the combination of allrífum (m. dat. sg.) and eyri (m. dat. sg.) ‘money’ would indicate the meaning ‘acceptable money’; cf. the example from Skarðsárbók: í gulli ok brendu silfri eðr í rífum aurum ‘in gold and burned silver or in acceptable coins’ (Jakob Benediktsson 1958, 194). However, Finnur Jónssons interpretation fits best in the context of the stanza and is adopted in the present edn. — [1, 3, 4] orðrakkr árr flausta ‘the word-bold messenger of ships [SEAFARER]’: This common type of seafarer-kenning is formed according to the pattern ‘man of the ship’ (cf. Eskál Lv 3/1-2I, Anon Pl 13/7-8VII; cf. LP: rr 2 and Meissner 88). The adj. orðrakkr ‘word-bold’ in the sense ‘eloquent’ or ‘someone true to one’s word’ serves as a qualifier for ‘seafarer’ here (see Note to [All] above). — [3-4] austrœnar snekkjur ilja ‘eastern warships of footsoles [SHOES]’: The adj. austrœnar (f. acc. pl.) can only qualify snekkjur (f. acc. pl.) ‘warships’ (l. 3). and is often used to refer to goods from Norway, seen from an Icelandic point of view (ONP: austrǿnn). Austrœnar snekkjur ilja ‘eastern warships of footsoles [SHOES]’ most likely means here that these are shoes from Norway. Kennings denoting ‘foot’ or ‘shoe(s)’ are attested elsewhere in poetry (Meissner 434), and the noun il f. ‘footsole’ is used as a determinant in several of these (see ÞjóðA Lv 6/6II, ÞjóðA Lv 8/2II, Eil Þdr 3/7). A ship-term as the base-word of such a kenning also appears in ÞjóðA Sex 20/7II hleypikjólar hæls ‘the speeding ships of the heel [SHOES]’. In Skj A, Finnur Jónsson used only ms. 743ˣ, and he emended the reading ‘austrer aser’ to austrœnna (gen. pl.) sér to construe Orðrakkr rr austrœnna flausta ‘The word-bold captain of a Norwegian ship [a Norwegian merchant]’ (Skj B). Finnur’s emendation was adopted by Kock (Skald).

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