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Runic Dictionary

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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

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

III. 3. Lausavísur (Lv) - 9

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.

Lausavísur — ESk LvIII

Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘ Einarr Skúlason, Lausavísur’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 169. <> (accessed 29 May 2022)

stanzas:  7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15 

Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 11. Lausavísur (AI, 482-5, BI, 454-7)

SkP info: III, 171

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — ESk Lv 8III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Lausavísur 8’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 171.

Stanzas 8-9 below (ESk Lv 8-9) are recorded without intervening prose in LaufE (mss papp10ˣ, 2368ˣ and 743ˣ). They are printed in RE 1665 and also cited in ms. A of SnE. The stanzas are anonymous in A, but LaufE identifies the poet as Einarr Skúlason, and RE 1665 gives his name as Einarr (Autore Einaro). In LaufE and RE 1665 these two stanzas form a sequence with Lv 14-15 below. There is no direct evidence that these stanzas are lausavísur; rather, they give the impression of being a þula-like exercise inventing kennings for ‘sea’ in which the determinants are islands and the base-words denote something encircling the islands. Many of these islands are also mentioned in Þul Eyja and Þul Islands (see also Fidjestøl 1982, 203-4). It could be, however, that the stanzas are bona fide lausavísur and represent Einarr’s response to a poetic challenge (see ESk Lv 5-6II). The metre is áttmælt ‘eight-times spoken’, a variant of dróttkvætt in which each line of the stanza forms a separate, independent clause (see SnSt Ht 10).

Brattrs baldrekr Þjóttu;
berr vindr Raðar linda;
víðgyrðill þýtr Vǫrðu;
veltr Fenhringar belti.
Yglisk umbgerð Huglar;
olmrs grásili Stolmar;
fleygir Bóknar baugi;
brakar Lygru men nǫkkvat.

Brattrs {baldrekr Þjóttu}; vindr berr {linda Raðar}; {víðgyrðill Vǫrðu} þýtr; {belti Fenhringar} veltr. {Umbgerð Huglar} yglisk; olmrs {grásili Stolmar}; fleygir {baugi Bóknar}; {men Lygru} brakar nǫkkvat.

Steep is {the baldric of Tjøtta <island>} [SEA]; the wind lifts {the band of Radøy <island>} [SEA]; {the wide girdle of Varða <island>} [SEA] roars; {the belt of Askøy <island>} [SEA] rolls. {The sheath of Huglo <island>} [SEA] becomes fierce; grim is {the grey harness-strap of Stolmen <island>} [SEA]; {the ring of Bokn <island>} [SEA] is flung out; {the necklace of Lygra <island>} [SEA] thunders somewhat.

Mss: A(21v) (SnE); papp10ˣ(40v), 2368ˣ(89), 743ˣ(70r) (LaufE); RE 1665(Ee3)

Readings: [1] Brattrs baldrekr Þjóttu (‘Brattr er balldrækr þióttv’): Blár er baldrekr Sírar all others    [2] Raðar: ‘herdar’ papp10ˣ, 2368ˣ, 743ˣ, ‘herlar’ RE 1665    [3] Vǫrðu: ‘virda’ 743ˣ, RE 1665    [7] Bóknar: so 2368ˣ, 743ˣ, Bolmar A, Bókna papp10ˣ, RE 1665;    baugi: baugur papp10ˣ, 743ˣ, RE 1665, ‘ba[…]gur’ 2368ˣ

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 11. Lausavísur 11: AI, 484, BI, 456, Skald I, 224; SnE 1848-87, II, 491, III, 172; LaufE 1979 267, 342; Resen 1977, Ee3.

Context: The stanza illustrates heiti for ‘islands’.

Notes: [1]: This line is given as l. 1 of Lv 9 in LaufE and RE 1665.  — [1] baldrekr ‘the baldric’: This is a loan-word from ME baldrick, baudrick, balderich that first appears in Old Norse poetry in the C12th (AEW: baldrekr). It is not used in Old Norse prose. — [1] Þjóttu ‘of Tjøtta <island>’: Located off the coast of Nordland (at the mouth of Vefsnfjorden) in North Norway (see also Þul Eyja 3/7 and Þul Islands l. 4). Tjøtta was the home of Hárekr ór Þjóttu ‘from Tjøtta’ Eyvindarson, son of the skald Eyvindr skáldaspillir ‘Plagiarist’ Finnsson (EyvI) and one of the opponents of Óláfr Haraldsson at the battle of Stiklestad (29 August 1030). Einarr may have been familiar with the name of the island from stories about S. Óláfr and would not necessarily have visited this location himself.  — [2] Raðar ‘of Radøy <island>’: Located off the coast of Hordaland, northwest of Bergen on the western coast of Norway (see also Þul Eyja 3/2 and Þul Islands l. 5). The variant ‘herdar’ (so LaufE; ‘herlar’ in RE 1665 must be a scribal error) is unmetrical (the syllable in metrical position 3 must be short). There is no island in Norway with such a name (the closest would be Herdla, ON Herðla, but Herðlu is still unmetrical). — [3] Vǫrðu ‘of Varða <island>’: This island has not been identified, but the name is also given in this form (Varða) in Þul Eyja 3/4. The variant ‘virda’ (so LaufE and RE 1665) is of no help here. — [4] Fenhringar ‘of Askøy <island>’: This island is also located off the coast of Hordaland, south of Radøy (see also Þul Eyja 4/4 and Þul Islands l. 6). — [5] Huglar ‘of Huglo <island>’: Located in Hardangerfjorden, Sunnhordland, east of Stord on the western coast of Norway (see also Þul Eyja 1/3). — [6] Stolmar ‘of Stolmen <island>’: This island is also located in Sunnhordland, a little northwest of Stord (see also Þul Eyja 1/8). — [7] Bóknar ‘of Bokn <island>’: So 2368ˣ, 743ˣ. Located in Boknafjorden east of Karmøy in Rogaland on the western coast of Norway (see also Þul Eyja 4/5 and Þul Islands l. 1). Einarr was clearly familiar with this part of Norway (see Lv 9/5 below and ESk Lv 6/4II, ESk Elfv 1/8II). Bolm (‘bolmar’) in A could either be Bolmsö in present-day Sweden (but that island is located in a lake, Bolmen) or an island off the coast of Hålogaland, North Norway, mentioned in Hervarar saga (see Hb 1892-6, 351: hann feck ser bvstað i ey þeiri a Halogalandi er Bolm heitir ‘he got a residence in Hålogaland on that island which is called Bolm’). Bolm is also given in Þul Eyja 4/5. — [8] brakar nǫkkvat ‘thunders somewhat’: The root vowel in nǫkkvat ‘somewhat’ (<ǫ> rather than <ø>) is secured by the internal rhyme (-ak- : -ǫkk-) here. See Note to Lv 7/8 above. — [8] Lygru ‘of Lygra <island>’: Located on the north-eastern side of Radøy in Lurefjorden (see Note to l. 2 above and Þul Eyja 3/1, 3/5, Þul Islands l. 5).

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