Einarr Skúlason (ESk)
12th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;
1. Sigurðardrápa I (Sigdr I) - 5
2. Haraldsdrápa I (Hardr I) - 2
3. Haraldsdrápa II (Hardr II) - 5
4. Haraldssonakvæði (?) (Harsonkv) - 2
5. Sigurðardrápa II (Sigdr II) - 1
7. Runhenda (Run) - 10
8. Eysteinsdrápa (Eystdr) - 2
9. Ingadrápa (Ingdr) - 4
10. Elfarvísur (Elfv) - 2
11. Lausavísur (Lv) - 6
III. 1. Øxarflokkr (Øxfl) - 10
III. 2. Fragments (Frag) - 18
III. 3. Lausavísur (Lv) - 9
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’)
Martin Chase 2007, ‘ 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. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1144> (accessed 29 January 2022)
Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 6. Geisli, 1153 (AI, 459-73, BI, 427-45)
SkP info: VII, 10
4 — ESk Geisl 4VII
Cite as: Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 4’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 10.
|Upp rann allrar skepnu
iðvandr á dag þriðja
Kristr með krapti hæstum
kunnr réttlætis sunnu.
|Veitk, at mildr frá moldu|
meginfjǫlði reis hǫlða
— iflaust má þat efla
ossa vôn — með hônum.
Iðvandr Kristr, kunnr allrar skepnu, rann upp með hæstum krapti sunnu réttlætis á þriðja dag. Veitk, at mildr meginfjǫlði hǫlða reis frá moldu með hônum; iflaust má þat efla ossa vôn.
Carefully-acting Christ, known to all creation, rose up with the utmost strength of the sun of righteousness on the third day. I know that a worthy great assembly of men rose from earth with him; beyond doubt that can strengthen our hope.
Mss: Flat(2ra), Bb(117ra)
Readings:  allrar: engla Bb  á: of Bb  með: ræðr Bb  kunnr: kunn Bb; sunnu: sunna Bb
Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 6. Geisli 4: AI, 459, BI, 427, Skald I, 211; Flat 1860-8, I, 1, Cederschiöld 1873, 1, Chase 2005, 54, 129.
Notes: [1-4]: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and Kock (Skald) adopt the five Bb readings engla (l. 1), of (l. 2), ræðr (l. 3), kunn and sunna (l. 4) and construe: Réttlætis sunna, kunn engla skepnu, rann upp of þriðja dag; iðvandr Kristr ræðr hæstum krapti ‘The sun of righteousness, known by the host of angels (kendt af englenes skare), rose up on the third day; Christ, careful in his doings, possesses the greatest power’. This relies on an unlikely gen. construction and a forced understanding of skepna ‘creation, created thing’. In the Flat version, kunnr allrar skepnu ‘known to all creation’ (ll. 1, 4), the gen. is objective. According to Scripture (e.g. Rom. XVI.25-6), the Resurrection made the hidden mystery of Christ’s saving power known to all nations. —  sunnu réttlætis ‘the sun of righteousness’: Another kenning-like periphrasis based on Lat. iustitiæ sol oriens ‘the rising sun of righteousness’ (cf. Mal. IV.2) is a name for Christ in the sequence Deus Pater piissime (AH 15, 13), and Jón4 spells out the metaphor when it speaks of sialf rettlætis solin lukt i likam, drottinn vꜳr Jesus Cristus ‘the sun of righteousness itself, our Lord Jesus Christ, enclosed in a human body’ (Jón4 1874, 466). In ON prose the image is usually associated with the Incarnation and Nativity, but the Norw. homily Jn die ſancto paſce ‘On the holy day of Easter’ links it to the rising sun of Easter: At upp-runnínní ſolo ſáo þǽr ængil hia grof. þvi at þa megom vér ſcilia himneſca luti ef ret-lǽtes ſol ſkin í hiortum vaorum ‘At the rising of the sun they saw an angel by the grave, because then we may understand heavenly things if the sun of righteousness shines in our hearts’ (HómNo, 82).