Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

login: password: stay logged in: help

Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

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

VII. Geisli (Geisl) - 71

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.

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.

 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, 32

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

31 — ESk Geisl 31VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 31’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 32.

Reyndi Gutthormr grundar
— gat rétt — við þrǫm sléttan,
áðr hvat Óláfs téðu
alkœns við guð bœnir.
Dag lét sinn með sigri
sóknþýðr jǫfurr prýðask,
þás í Ǫngulseyjar-
undreyr bitu -sundi.

Gutthormr reyndi við sléttan þrǫm grundar, hvat bœnir alkœns Óláfs téðu áðr við guð; gat rétt. Sóknþýðr jǫfurr lét dag sinn prýðask með sigri, þás {undreyr} bitu í Ǫngulseyjarsundi.

Gutthormr proved on the flat coast of the land how the prayers of much-skilled Óláfr previously prevailed with God; he guessed correctly. The battle-happy king caused his day to be adorned with victory, when {wound-reeds} [ARROWS] bit in the Menai Strait.

Mss: Bb(117va-b)

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 6. Geisli 31: AI, 465, BI, 434-5, Skald I, 214, NN §937; Cederschiöld 1873, 5, Chase 2005, 81, 147-8.

Notes: [All]: The story of Gutthormr Gunnhildarson occupies sts 31-4. This man was S. Óláfr’s nephew, son of his half-sister Gunnhildr. After a raid on the island of Angelsey, Gutthormr quarrelled with his Irish raiding partner Margaðr over the spoils and a fight ensued. Although Gutthormr’s war-band was the weaker, he prayed to Óláfr on the evening before the fight (which took place on S. Óláfr’s feast day, 29 July) and Óláfr helped him to win. In gratitude he donated a silver cross to the saint, which would have been visible in the cathedral at Trondheim as Einarr recited his drápa. The story of Gutthormr appears in numerous versions of the Óláfr-legend (Louis-Jensen 1970, 35; ÓHLeg 1982, 210-12; Hkr, ÍF 28, 135-7; ÓH 1941, 631-3; for further details, see Chase 2005, 39 and 227 n. 107; Gade 2004, 218-20). Sts 31-3 are missing from the Flat text, probably due to the scribe’s carelessness. St. 30 lies at the end of a column in the ms., and the following column begins with st. 34. Both sts 30 and 33 have the stef as the second helmingr, and when the scribe shifted columns he probably mistook the conclusion of st. 33 for st. 30. The inclusion of st. 34 proves that the scribe’s exemplar contained the story of Gutthormr. The missing sts are supplied from the Bb text, the only witness. — [1-4]: The syntax of the first helmingr is slightly awkward. Finnur Jónsson construes Gutthormr reyndi við sléttan þrǫm grundar, hvat bænir alkæns Óláfs téðu við goð; hann gat áðr rétt ‘Gutthormr proved on the flat coast of the land how the prayers of much-skilled Óláfr prevailed with God; he had guessed correctly previously’ (Skj B). Kock takes gat hann rétt ‘he guessed correctly’ as a parenthesis and reads áðr hvat as hvat áðr, arguing convincingly that such transposition in correlative constructions was an accepted technique (NN §§937 and 246D). His interpretation makes better sense: ‘Gutthormr proved on the flat coast of the land how previously the prayers of much-skilled Óláfr prevailed with God; he guessed correctly’. — [7, 8] í Ǫngulseyjarsundi: ‘in the sound of Angelsey’, the Menai Strait, between the island of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales. It would be nearly impossible to use a word this long (six syllables, the length of an entire l.) in dróttkvætt without tmesis.

© Skaldic Project Academic Body, unless otherwise noted. Database structure and interface developed by Tarrin Wills. All users of material on this database are reminded that its content may be either subject to copyright restrictions or is the property of the custodians of linked databases that have given permission for members of the skaldic project to use their material for research purposes. Those users who have been given access to as yet unpublished material are further reminded that they may not use, publish or otherwise manipulate such material except with the express permission of the individual editor of the material in question and the General Editor of the volume in which the material is to be published. Applications for permission to use such material should be made in the first instance to the General Editor of the volume in question. All information that appears in the published volumes has been thoroughly reviewed. If you believe some information here is incorrect please contact Tarrin Wills with full details.