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Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

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

1. Sigurðardrápa I (Sigdr I) - 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.

Sigurðardrápa I (‘Drápa about Sigurðr’) — ESk Sigdr III

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr Skúlason, Sigurðardrápa I’ 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. 538-42.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5 

Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 1. Sigurðardrápa (AI, 455-6, BI, 423-4)

SkP info: II, 539

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — ESk Sigdr I 2II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Sigurðardrápa I 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, p. 539.

Ok, sás œzt gat ríki,
ól þjóðkonungr, sólar,
ǫnd á Jákóbslandi
annan vetr, und ranni.
Þar frák hilmi herjar
(hjaldrs) lausmæli gjalda
(gramr birti svan svartan
snarlyndr) frǫmum jarli.

Ok þjóðkonungr, sás gat œzt ríki und {ranni sólar}, ól ǫnd annan vetr á Jákóbslandi. Þar frák hilmi herjar gjalda frǫmum jarli lausmæli; snarlyndr gramr birti {svartan svan hjaldrs}.

And the mighty king, who got the highest power under {the hall of the sun} [SKY/HEAVEN], nourished his spirit the next winter in Galicia. There I heard that the protector of the people repaid the outstanding earl for his unreliable words; the keen-spirited ruler cheered {the black swan of battle} [RAVEN].

Mss: (608r), 39(36vb), F(60vb), E(37r), J2ˣ(317v), 42ˣ(17r) (Hkr); H(94v), Hr(64va) (H-Hr)

Readings: [1] sás (‘sa er’): er sá H;    œzt: œztr H, Hr    [2] ‑konungr: ‑konung J2ˣ, Hr    [5] hilmi: ‘hilm’ Hr    [6] hjaldrs: hjaldr 42ˣ, H, Hr    [7] birti: bræddi H, Hr;    svan: svá F, ‘svam’ E, J2ˣ;    svartan: snemma E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ, síma H, Hr    [8] ‑lyndr: ‑lundr 39, E

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 1. Sigurðardrápa 2: AI, 455, BI, 423, Skald I, 209, NN §921; ÍF 28, 240-1 (Msona ch. 4), F 1871, 281, E 1916, 130; Fms 7, 78 (Msona ch. 4).

Context: From England, Sigurðr went to Normandy and then on to Galicia, where he stayed the second winter. The earl who was in command of the district promised to provide the Norwegians with provisions, but supplies ran out around Christmas time. Sigurðr sacked the earl’s castle and furnished his troops with the food they needed.

Notes: [All]: For a similar attack on a castle in Galicia that took place during Jarl Rǫgnvaldr Kali’s crusade, see Orkn (ÍF 34, 212-18), as well as Rv Lv 17-19 and Sigm Lv 1. — [2, 3] ól ǫnd ‘nourished his spirit’: This is usually taken in the meaning ‘stayed’, but in this case it could also have a more spiritual implication because, even at such an early date, Sigurðr would probably have visited the shrine of the Apostle James the Great in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia. For James the Great, see Anon Alpost 5VII. — [3] á Jákóbslandi ‘in Galicia’: A province located in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. One of the main cities in Galicia was Santiago de Compostela (‘S. James of Compostela’), which housed the relics of James the Great, hence the ON name for Galicia, Jákóbsland ‘James’s land’. See Note to ll. 2, 3 above. — [6, 7] birti svartan svan hjaldrs ‘cheered the black swan of battle [RAVEN]’: Skj B combines the variants from H, Hr and E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ and reads bræddi svan hjaldrs snimma ‘fed the swan of battle quickly’, but that construction has no support from the ms. witnesses (see NN §921). — [7] birti ‘cheered’: Lit. ‘brightened, made clear’. This weak verb is formed from the adj. bjartr ‘bright, fair, shining’, which could also be used in the figurative sense ‘glad, cheerful’. See LP: bjartr.

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