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 20 May 2022)
Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 6. Geisli, 1153 (AI, 459-73, BI, 427-45)
SkP info: VII, 44-5
46 — ESk Geisl 46VII
Cite as: Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 46’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 44-5.
notes: [5-8]: The helmingr works at two levels. The primary meaning is that Óláfr’s miracles are signs given by God as proof of the saint’s holiness. Þess’s lið læknar ‘the one who heals men’ (l. 5) and lofðungs ranns himintungla ‘of the prince of the house of heavenly bodies’ (ll. 6, 8) clearly refer to Christ. But they can also refer to Óláfr: although the miracles are ultimately God’s, a point which Einarr emphasizes, they are also Óláfr’s in the sense that he is their efficient cause. The variant reading vinar ‘of the friend’ (vinar lofðungs ranns tungla ‘of the friend of the prince of the house of heavenly bodies [= God > = Óláfr]’), adopted in Skj B and Skald, makes the reference to Óláfr the Saint explicit in the Bb text. The two helmingar of st. 46 juxtapose not only Óláfr and Christ, but also the Óláfr who gave rings and the Óláfr who heals. These eight ll. thus concisely express the theme of the drápa, as is fitting for the st. that begins its slœmr, or concluding section.
texts: ‹Flat 43›
editions: Skj Einarr Skúlason: 6. Geisli 46 (AI, 467; BI, 438); Skald I, 216; Flat 1860-8, I, 5, Cederschiöld 1873, 7, Chase 2005, 96, 154-5.