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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 20 October 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, 545-6

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — ESk Hardr II 2II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Haraldsdrápa II 2’ 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. 545-6.

Luku vág viku,
vara kostr fara
brýns, Bjǫrgynjar,
braut háskrautum.

Luku vág Bjǫrgynjar viku; vara kostr brýns háskrautum fara braut.

They closed the bay of Bergen for a week; there was no possibility for the tall ships to speed away.

Mss: Mork(32r) (Mork); FskBˣ(92v), FskAˣ(366) (Fsk); Kˣ(633r), 39(42rb), F(68ra), E(48v), J2ˣ(339r), 42ˣ(34r) (Hkr); H(115r), Hr(75vb) (H-Hr)

Readings: [2] vara: varat FskBˣ, FskAˣ;    kostr: kostir FskAˣ    [3] brýns: so FskBˣ, FskAˣ, Kˣ, 39, F, E, J2ˣ, H, Hr, brýns or brúns Mork, brúns 42ˣ    [4] skrautum: háskautum FskAˣ, ‘harskrautum’ 42ˣ

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 3. Haraldsdrápa II 4: AI, 457-8, BI, 425, Skald I, 210, NN §2535, Mork 1867, 199, Mork 1928-32, 401, Andersson and Gade 2000, 364, 490 (MbHg); ÍF 29, 325 (ch. 95); ÍF 28, 286-7 (MbHg ch. 7), F 1871, 314, E 1916, 169; Fms 7, 184-5 (MbHg ch. 8).

Context: The helmingr documents the siege of Bergen (1134-5), when Haraldr gilli and his men prevented Magnús inn blindi and his troops from leaving that city. Magnús had previously enclosed the bay of Bergen with iron chains so that Haraldr’s ships could not enter it. That strategy backfired, however, because Haraldr and his army circumvented the blockade and approached from land. When Magnús tried to escape on his ship, the chains prevented him from sailing away.

Notes: [2] vara ‘was not’: One of the first examples of a rhotacised r in the sg. pret. indic. of the verb vesa/vera ‘to be’ (here secured by internal rhyme; see also ESk Lv 1/3 below). — [3] brýns (m. gen. sg.): Lit. ‘of speediness’. Taken here as a substantivised adj. (see LP: brýnn 2) governed by kostr ‘possibility’ (l. 2) (so also ÍF 28; ÍF 29). Skj B adopts the 42ˣ variant brúns (the word is difficult to read in Mork) and construes it as part of a kenning for ‘ship’: skrautum brúns hás ‘for the ships of the brown oarlock’ (ll. 3, 4). However, skrauti itself appears to mean ‘ship’. See LP: skrauti, and Scröter, the name of Erik’s ship in Saxo (2005, I, 5, 2, 3, pp. 286-7) (most likely from skraut ‘adornment’). Kock (NN §2535) takes brúns as a name (Brúnn) for Óðinn (or for a sea-king). He suggests the following reading: vara kostr háskrautum fara braut Brúns ‘it was no possibility for the tall ships to go on the road of Brúnn (i.e. on the sea)’. Brúnn (and Brúni) is a name for Óðinn (see LP: Brúnn; Brúni), but it is not attested as the name of a sea-king. It is difficult to see how ‘the road of Óðinn’ could be construed as a kenning for ‘sea’. The prose of Hkr reads as follows (ÍF 28, 286): Magnús konungr gekk út á skip sitt, en þeim var engi kostr brot at fara ‘King Magnús went out onto his ship, but there was no possibility for them to sail away’. — [4] háskrautum ‘the tall ships’: See the comparable - in hánǫðru ráfiðris ‘the tall adder of the sailyard-feather’ below (st. 4/3). ÍF 28 and ÍF 29 take Skrauti (dat. pl. Skrautum) as the name of an ox (unattested) and as part of a kenning for ‘ship’: -Skrautum ‘for the oarlock-oxen (i.e., for the ships)’. For other interpretations, see Note to l. 3 above.

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