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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

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

3. Haraldsdrápa II (Hardr II) - 5

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.

Haraldsdrápa II (‘Drápa about Haraldr’) — ESk Hardr IIII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Einarr Skúlason, Haraldsdrápa II’ 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. 544-8. <> (accessed 24 September 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5 

Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 3. Haraldsdrápa II (AI, 457-8, BI, 425-6); stanzas (if different): 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

SkP info: II, 548

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — ESk Hardr II 5II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Haraldsdrápa II 5’ 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, p. 548.

Eyddi oddum
ey benþeyjar
Hlés helfýsir
hungr gollunga.
Líkn gefi læknir
lofaðr friðrofa
heims hafljóma
hár lausnari.

{Helfýsir} eyddi hungr {gollunga {benþeyjar}} oddum Hlésey. {Lofaðr læknir heims}, hár lausnari, gefi líkn {friðrofa {hafljóma}}.

{The death-precipitator} [WARRIOR] destroyed the hunger {of young hawks {of wound-thaw}} [BLOOD > RAVENS/EAGLES] with spear-points on Læsø. May {the praised healer of the world} [= God], the noble redeemer, give mercy {to the peace-disturber {of sea-radiance}} [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN].

Mss: Mork(32r) (Mork)

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 3. Haraldsdrápa II 3: AI, 457, BI, 425, Skald I, 210, NN §2049; Mork 1867, 200, Mork 1928-32, 403, Andersson and Gade 2000, 365-6, 490 (MbHg).

Notes: [All]: For this battle, see ESk Hardr I, 2 above. — [2, 3] Hlésey ‘Læsø’: This p. n. is taken as a loc. dat. (‘on Læsø’; so also Skj B). Kock (NN §2049) regards it as the object of eyddi ‘destroyed’ (l. 1), which would then serve as a verb governing two parallel objects: eyddi Hlésey ‘destroyed Læsø’ (ll. 1, 2, 3) and eyddi hungr ‘destroyed the hunger’ (ll. 1, 4). Læsø is an island off the north-eastern coast of Jylland, Denmark. — [3] helfýsir ‘the death-precipitator [WARRIOR]’: Skj B emends to herfýsir ‘army-precipitator’, which is unnecessary (see NN §2049). — [4] gollunga ‘of young hawks’: Gollungr was a young hawk that could not yet fly (cf. Engl. gull, i.e. unfledged bird). See Fritzner: gollr and gollungr; AEW: gollungr. The word is also found in NGL (I, 242): Gáshauka alla er í reiðri eru teknir oc í goll. þá á landsdróttinn ‘All chickenhawks which are taken in the nest and are unable to fly belong to the landowner’ (see also NGL V: goll). Both Skj B and Skald render the form as gǫllunga (see LP: gǫllungr), most likely because this form is given in Þul Hauks 1/5III.

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated