Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

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

8. Eysteinsdrápa (Eystdr) - 2

Skj info: Einarr Skúlason, Islandsk skjald, 12. årh. (AI, 455-85, BI, 423-57).

Skj poems:
1. Sigurðardrápa
2. Haraldsdrápa I
3. Haraldsdrápa II
4. Haraldssonakvæði(?)
5. Sigurðardrápa
6. Geisli
7. Runhenda
8. Eysteinsdrápa
9. Ingadrápa
10. Elfarvísur
11. Lausavísur
11. Lausavísur
11. Øxarflokkr(?)
12. Ubestemmelige vers, tilhørende forskellige fyrstedigte eller lausavísur

We know very little about the life of Einarr Skúlason (ESk). He is called prestr ‘priest’ and is mentioned in a catalogue (c. 1220) of priests of noble birth who were alive in western Iceland in 1143 (Stu 1878, II, 502). It is likely that he came from Borg, belonged to the Mýrar family and was a direct descendant of Þorsteinn Egilsson and a brother of Snorri Sturluson’s maternal grandfather (LH 1894-1901, II, 62-3; ÍF 3, 51 n. 3). He was probably born c. 1090. In 1153, he recited the poem Geisli ‘Light-beam’ (ESk GeislVII) in Kristkirken in Trondheim. He was marshal (stallari) at King Eysteinn Magnússon’s court, and he composed poetry in praise of the Norw. kings Sigurðr jórsalafari ‘Jerusalem-farer’ and Eysteinn Magnússon, Haraldr gilli(-kristr) ‘Servant (of Christ)’, Magnús inn blindi ‘the Blind’ Sigurðarson, Haraldr gilli’s sons, Ingi, Sigurðr munnr ‘Mouth’, and Eysteinn, and about the Norw. chieftain Grégóríus Dagsson (see SnE 1848-87, III, 254-5, 263-4, 269, 276-7, 286). According to Skáldatal, he also honoured the Norw. magnate Eindriði ungi ‘the Young’ Jónsson as well as Sørkvir Kolsson and Jón jarl Sørkvisson of Sweden and King Sveinn Eiríksson of Denmark (SnE 1848-87, III, 252, 258, 260, 268-9, 272, 283, 286). About the latter he recited a poem for which he received no reward (see ESk Lv 3; ÍF 35, 275). The extant portion of his poetic oeuvre consists of the following poems (excluding lvv.): Sigurðardrápa I (Sigdr I, five extant sts about Sigurðr jórsalafari); Haraldsdrápa I (Hardr I, two extant sts about Haraldr gilli); Haraldsdrápa II (Hardr II, five extant sts about Haraldr gilli); Haraldssonakvæði (Harsonkv, two extant sts about the sons of Haraldr gilli); Sigurðardrápa II (Sigdr II, one extant st. about Sigurðr munnr Haraldsson); Runhenda (Run, ten extant sts about Eysteinn Haraldsson); Eysteinsdrápa (Eystdr, two extant sts about Eysteinn Haraldsson); Ingadrápa (Ingdr, four extant sts about Ingi Haraldsson); Elfarvísur (Elfv, two extant sts about Grégóríus Dagsson); Geisli (GeislVII, seventy-one sts about S. Óláfr); Øxarflokkr (ØxflIII, ten extant sts about the gift of an axe).

It must be emphasised that, although the poetry included in the royal panegyrics below clearly belongs to poems of that genre, with two exceptions (Hardr II and Elfv), all the names of the poems are modern constructs (notably by Jón Sigurðsson and Finnur Jónsson). That also holds true for the assignment of sts to the individual poems. In some cases, sts were assigned to a particular poem for metrical reasons (so Run), in other cases because of the content or the named recipients of the praise. For the sake of convenience, the names of the poems and the sts assigned to them as found in Skj have been retained in the present edn. In addition to the royal encomia, a number of fragments and lvv. attributed to Einarr are preserved in SnE, TGT and LaufE (see ESk Frag 1-18III; ESk Lv 7-15III). These have been edited separately in SkP III. Six lvv. are transmitted in the kings’ sagas and edited below.

Eysteinsdrápa (‘Drápa about Eysteinn’) — ESk EystdrII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr Skúlason, Eysteinsdrápa’ 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. 559-61.

 1   2 

Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 8. Eysteinsdrápa, o. 1158 (AI, 475, BI, 447)

SkP info: II, 559-60

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — ESk Eystdr 1II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Eysteinsdrápa 1’ 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. 559-60.

Vôru sogns með sára
syni Maddaðar staddir
grenni (fekksk) manna
(máttigr) tigir átta.
Þrimr skútum tók þreytir
þann jarl drasils hranna;
hraustr gaf hræskúfs nistir
hǫfuð sitt frǫmum jǫfri.


Eighty men were stationed with {the feeder {of the seagull {of the fjord of wounds}}}, [(lit. ‘seagull-feeder of the fjord of wounds’) BLOOD > RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR] {Maddaðr’s son}; [= Haraldr] the mighty one was captured. With three ships {the tester {of the steed of waves}} [SHIP > SEAFARER] seized that jarl; {the bold feeder {of the carrion-skua}} [RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR] surrendered his head to the outstanding prince.

context: On his expedition to England, Eysteinn first landed in Caithness, Scotland. He heard that Jarl Haraldr Maddaðarson of Orkney was in Thurso and set out with three small ships to capture him. Eysteinn and his men came upon Haraldr unawares, and, although Haraldr had a superior force (thirty ships and eighty men), he was unable to muster any resistance.

notes: For Eysteinn’s campaign, see Run sts 3-9 above. The campaign took place c. 1151, while Jarl Rǫgnvaldr Kali Kolsson (Rv) was away on his crusade to the Holy Land. Haraldr Maddaðarson was jarl of Orkney from 1139 until his death in 1206. For his genealogy, see ÍF 34, Genealogy IV. — [1-4]: This helmingr is garbled and difficult to reconstruct.

texts: H-Hr 343, HSona 11 (III 221), Mork 257, Hkr 603 (III 221)

editions: Skj Einarr Skúlason: 8. Eysteinsdrápa 1 (AI, 475; BI, 447); Skald I, 220, NN §955; ÍF 28, 327-8 (Hsona ch. 20), F 1871, 339, E 1916, 198; Fms 7, 235 (Hsona ch. 20); Mork 1867, 225, Mork 1928-32, 443, Andersson and Gade 2000, 391, 494-5 (Hsona).


AM 63 folx (Kx) 658v, 23 - 659r, 2 (Hkr)  image  
AM 45 fol (F) 73va, 34 - 73va, 37 (Hkr)  image  image  image  image  
AM 47 fol (E) 57r, 3 - 57r, 5 (Hkr)  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 356r, 3 - 356r, 10 (Hkr)  image  
AM 66 fol (H) 124r, 23 - 124r, 23 (H-Hr)  image  image  image  image  
GKS 1010 fol (Hr) 81rb, 7 - 81rb, 7 (H-Hr)  image  
GKS 1009 fol (Mork) 35v, 43 - 35v, 43 (Mork)  image  image  image  
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