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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

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

VII. Geisli (Geisl) - 71

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.

Geisli (‘Light beam’) — ESk GeislVII

Martin Chase 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr Skúlason, Geisli’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 5-65.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   41   42   43   44   45   46   47   48   49   50   51   52   53   54   55   56   57   58   59   60   61   62   63   64   65   66   67   68   69   70   71 

Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 6. Geisli, 1153 (AI, 459-73, BI, 427-45)

SkP info: VII, 20-1

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

16 — ESk Geisl 16VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 16’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 20-1.

Ok hagliga hugðisk
hrøkkviseiðs ins døkkva
lyngs í lopt upp ganga
látrs stríðandi síðan.
Lét, s landfolks gætir,
líknframr himinríki
umgeypnandi opnask
alls heims fyr gram snjǫllum.

 

And {the enemy {of the lair {of the dark coiling fish of the heather}}} [SNAKE > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] thought then that he went easily up into the air. {The outstandingly merciful encompasser [lit. holder in hand] of the whole world}, [= God] who watches over the people of the country, caused the kingdom of heaven to open before the clever king.

context: Lines 5-8 occur in several mss of the Skm section of SnE among examples of kennings for Christ. Snorri comments: ‘Here kennings become ambiguous, and the person interpreting the poetry has to distinguish from the context which king is being referred to. For it is normal to call the emperor of Constantinople king of the Greeks, and similarly the king that rules Palestine, to call him king of Jerusalem ... And the kenning that was quoted above, calling Christ king of men, this kenning can be applied to any king.’ (Faulkes 1987, 127-8; cf. SnE 1998, I, 78). Snorri was aware of Einarr’s use of double entendre to associate Óláfr with Christ.

texts: Flat 16, Skm 279 [5-8], SnE 281 [5-8]

editions: Skj Einarr Skúlason: 6. Geisli 16 (AI, 462; BI, 431); Skald I, 213; Flat 1860-8, I, 2, Cederschiöld 1873, 3, Chase 2005, 66, 137-8; SnE 1848-87, I, 450, SnE 1931, 159, SnE 1998, I, 78.

sources

GKS 1005 fol (Flat) 2ra, 33 - 2ra, 33  image  image  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb) 117rb, 22 - 117rb, 25  image  image  
GKS 2367 4° (R) 35v, 23 - 35v, 24 [5-8] (SnE)  image  image  image  
Traj 1374x (Tx) 37r, 17 - 37r, 18 [5-8] (SnE)  image  
AM 242 fol (W) 81, 7 - 81, 8 [5-8] (SnE)  image  image  image  
DG 11 (U) 34v, 16 - 34v, 17 [5-8] (SnE)  image  
AM 748 I b 4° (A) 12v, 6 - 12v, 7 [5-8] (SnE)  transcr.  image  image  
AMAcc 18x (Acc18x) 161, 6 - 161, 7  image  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated