Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

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

5. Sigurðardrápa II (Sigdr II) - 1

Skj info: Einarr Skúlason, Islandsk skjald, 12. årh. (AI, 455-85, BI, 423-57).

Skj poems:
1. Sigurðardrápa
2. Haraldsdrápa I
3. Haraldsdrápa II
4. Haraldssonakvæði(?)
5. Sigurðardrápa
6. Geisli
7. Runhenda
8. Eysteinsdrápa
9. Ingadrápa
10. Elfarvísur
11. Lausavísur
11. Lausavísur
11. Øxarflokkr(?)
12. Ubestemmelige vers, tilhørende forskellige fyrstedigte eller lausavísur

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 II (‘Drápa about Sigurðr’) — ESk Sigdr IIII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr Skúlason, Sigurðardrápa 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. 550-1.


Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 5. Sigurðardrápa (AI, 458, BI, 426); stanzas (if different): [v]

SkP info: II, 550-1

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — ESk Sigdr II 1II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Sigurðardrápa II 1’ 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. 550-1.

Snild berr, snarp*a elda
sárflóðs þess’s rýðr blóði,
— gefit hefr goð sjalfr jǫfri
gagn — Sigvarðar magni.
Svás, ef Rauma ræsir
reiðorðr tǫlur greiðir,
(rausn vinnr gramr) sem gumnar
(glaðmæltr) þegi aðrir.

Snild Sigvarðar, þess’s rýðr {snarp*a elda {sárflóðs}} blóði, berr magni; goð sjalfr hefr gefit jǫfri gagn. Svás, ef {reiðorðr ræsir Rauma} greiðir tǫlur, sem aðrir gumnar þegi; glaðmæltr gramr vinnr rausn.

The eloquence of Sigurðr, who reddens {the sharp fires {of the wound-flood}} [BLOOD > SWORDS] with blood, is overwhelming; God himself has given advantage to the prince. Thus it is, if {the clear-talking ruler of the Raumar} [NORWEGIAN KING = Sigurðr] gives speeches, as if other men are silent; the glad-spoken lord displays splendour.

Mss: (660v), F(73vb), E(57r), J2ˣ(357r), 42ˣ(47v) (Hkr); H(124v), Hr(81va) (H-Hr)

Readings: [1] snarp*a: snarpra all    [4] Sigvarðar: Sigurðar all    [5] ef: þá er F, E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ, sem H, þá Hr    [6] tǫlur: tǫlu Hr    [7] gramr: gram Hr;    sem: þá er Hr    [8] aðrir: allir Hr

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 5. Sigurðardrápa: AI, 458, BI, 426, Skald I, 211; ÍF 28, 331 (Hsona ch. 21), F 1871, 340, E 1916, 200; Fms 7, 238-9 (Hsona ch. 21).

Context: The st. illustrates the eloquence of Sigurðr munnr Haraldsson.

Notes: [1] snarp*a (m. acc. pl.) ‘sharp’: Snarpra (gen. pl.) has been emended to acc. pl. because the adj. qualifies elda (m. acc. pl.) ‘fires’ (l. 1). — [4] gagn ‘advantage’: This word usually means ‘victory’ (see LP: gagn 5), which makes less sense in the present context. — [4] Sigvarðar ‘of Sigurðr’: The longer, more archaic form of the name is necessary to avoid the sequence of three short syllables (see Kuhn 1983, 109). For Sigurðr munnr Haraldsson, see ‘Royal Biographies’ in Introduction to this vol. — [6] reiðorðr ‘clear-talking’: This word, which lit. means ‘clear-worded’ (cf. AEW: reiðr; greiðr), could also be taken as ‘wrath-worded’ (< vreið-), and Einarr clearly made a pun on this double entendre with the adj. glaðmæltr ‘glad-spoken’ (l. 8). Cf. Sigurðr’s nickname, munnr ‘Mouth’, even though this could also refer to his facial features (so Finnur Jónsson 1907, 204: en stor mund ‘a large mouth’; ÍF 28, 330: munnljótr ‘ugly of mouth’).

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