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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

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

III. 1. Øxarflokkr (Øxfl) - 10

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.

Øxarflokkr (‘Flokkr about an Axe’) — ESk ØxflIII

Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr Skúlason, Øxarflokkr’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 140.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10 

Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 11. Øxarflokkr(?) (AI, 477-9, BI, 449-51); stanzas (if different): 11

SkP info: III, 144

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — ESk Øxfl 4III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Øxarflokkr 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 144.

Nýt buðumk (Njarðar dóttur)
(nálægt vas þat -skála)
(vel of hrósak því) vísa
vǫrn (sævar ǫl-) (barni).

Nýt buðumk vísa vǫrn; þat vas nálægt ǫlskála sævar; of hrósak {því barni {dóttur Njarðar}} vel.

The useful one offered me secure protection; that was close to the ale-hall by the sea; I truly praise {that child {of Njǫrðr’s <god’s> daughter}} [= Freyja > = Hnoss (hnoss ‘treasure’)].

Mss: R(28r-v), Tˣ(29v), W(73), U(30v) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Nýt: Nýtt W, U;    buðumk: buðusk W    [2] skála: stála U

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 11. Øxarflokkr(?) 4: AI, 478, BI, 450, Skald I, 221, NN §§2057B, 2509, 2902F; SnE 1848-87, I, 348-9, II, 320, III, 57, SnE 1931, 126, SnE 1998, I, 44.

Context: Dóttir Njarðar ‘Njǫrðr’s daughter’ is given in Skm as a kenning for the goddess Freyja.

Notes: [All]: It is tempting to connect the helmingr with the events of 1155 described in Einarr’s Ingadrápa (ESk Ingdr 2-4II), when King Sigurðr munnr ‘Mouth’ Haraldsson was attacked and killed while drinking in the ale-house of Sigríðr sæta ‘Grass-widow’ near the bay of Bergen, Norway. Einarr was an eyewitness to that attack (see ÍF 24, 231-6, ÍF 28, 340-1, ÍF 29, 336-7 and the map in ÍF 29, 324). — [All]: The word order of this stanza is very convoluted and the present edn attempts to make sense of the text without resorting to emendation. — [All]: This helmingr follows st. 3 above, and it is thus implicitly attributed to Einarr: Ok enn svá ‘And again thus’ (see Note to st. 3 [All]). — [1] nýt (f. nom. sg.) ‘the useful one’: Taken as an adj. (f. nom. sg.) here, which functions as the subject and refers to an understood hnoss (f. nom. sg.) ‘treasure’ (i.e. the weapon). Skj B connects it with øx ‘axe’ (emended from ǫl ‘ale’, l. 4). Faulkes (SnE 1998, II, 365) construes it with vǫrn ‘protection’ (l. 4), which he takes as nom. sg. Skald reads nýtt (with W, U), which here can only be n. nom. sg. and a qualifier for bál ‘fire’ (emended from ǫl, l. 4). — [1] buðumk (3rd pers. sg. pret. indic.) ‘offered me’: So all earlier eds. The verb is formally 3rd pers. pl. but used for 3rd pers. sg. with suffixed pron.; see ANG §465.3. Faulkes (SnE 1998, II, 245: bjóða) treats this as the 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic. in a passive construction with vǫrn ‘protection’ (l. 4) as the subject (‘protection was offered to me’). — [2] -skála ‘-hall’: Kock (Skald and NN §2057B) adopts the U reading but emends stála n. gen. pl. ‘of steels, swords’ to stáli n. dat. sg. and reads þat vas nálægt stáli translated as vid stålet var det anbrakt tätt ‘near the steel that was placed closely’ (referring to inlaid gold; see his emendation in l. 4). — [3]: For this line, see also Kolli Ingdr 5/3II. — [3-4] vísa vǫrn ‘secure protection’: So Skj B. Both Skald and Faulkes construe vísa as the noun vísa (m. gen. sg.) ‘of the ruler’ qualifying vǫrn ‘protection of the ruler’ (see NN §§2057B, 2509, 2902F, SnE 1998, II, 430; but see Kuhn 1936b, 148 n. 1). — [4] ǫl-; sævar ‘ale-; by the sea’: In the present edn, ǫl ‘ale’ (so all mss) is taken as the first element in the cpd ǫlskála ‘ale-hall’ (tmesis, see st. 5/3 below), and sævar ‘by the sea’ as a gen. of place. Skj B also construes sævar with skála as a gen. of place, but Finnur Jónsson emends ǫl ‘ale’ to øx ‘axe’ and reads nýt øx buðumk vísa vǫrn ‘the splendid axe offered me secure protection’, creating an unprecedented four-part even line. Kock (NN §2057B) emends ǫl to bál ‘fire’ and construes a gold-kenning bál sævar ‘fire of the sea’, which refers to the gold inlaid in the weapon (see Note to l. 2 above). Both readings are unmetrical (the nominal syllable in position 4 must be short) and not supported by the ms. witnesses. Faulkes (SnE 1998, I, 44, 186) emends ǫl to ǫll (f. nom. sg.) ‘all’ which he takes as an adj. qualifying vǫrn (ǫll nýt vǫrn vísa ‘all the ruler’s helpful protection’). That construction again creates an unprecedented four-part even line (l. 4).

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