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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

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

11. Lausavísur (Lv) - 6

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 LvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Einarr Skúlason, Lausavísur’ 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. 568-74. <> (accessed 17 September 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6 

Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 11. Lausavísur (AI, 482-5, BI, 454-7); stanzas (if different): 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

SkP info: II, 569-70

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — ESk Lv 2II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Lausavísur 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. 569-70.

Erlendr hefir undan
allvalds gleði haldit;
gramr, skaltattu, gumna,
Gapamunn of þat kunna.
Hafa munu heiðar jǫfra
hlíðrœkjanda fríðum
— geta verðr þess fyr gotnum —
galdrs nauðsynjar valdit.

Erlendr hefir haldit undan gleði allvalds; gramr gumna, skaltattu kunna Gapamunn of þat. Nauðsynjar munu hafa valdit {{{fríðum {jǫfra heiðar} galdrs} hlíð}rœkjanda}; verðr geta þess fyr gotnum.

Erlendr has fled from the cheer of the mighty ruler; leader of men, you must not fault Gapamunnr (‘Gaping-mouth’) for that. Necessities must have forced {the handsome cultivator {of the slope {of the chant {of the chieftains of the heath}}}} [(lit. ‘slope-cultivator of the chant of the chieftains of the heath’) GIANTS > GOLD > WOMAN > MAN]; one must recount that before the people.

Mss: H(111v), Hr(73vb) (H-Hr); Mork(31r) (Mork); F(65va)

Readings: [2] allvalds gleði haldit: ‘[...]’ Mork    [3] gramr skaltattu gumna: ‘[...]’ Mork;    skaltattu: skallattu H, F, skalattu Hr    [4] Gapamunn of: ‘[...]’ Mork;    ‑munn: so Hr, F, ‑munnr H    [5] munu: mun Hr;    heiðar jǫfra: ‘heidur a iofrar’ Hr, heiðir jǫfrar Mork, hæðar jǫfra F    [7] verðr þess fyr gotnum: ‘[...]’ Mork    [8] galdrs nauðsynjar valdit: ‘[...]’ Mork;    galdrs: ‘galldus’ Hr

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 11. Lausavísur 2: AI, 483, BI, 455, Skald I, 224, NN §§962, 3108A; Fms 7, 167 (Msona ch. 50); Mork 1867, 192, Mork 1928-32, 392, Andersson and Gade 2000, 352-3, 490 (Msona); F 1871, 303 (Msona).

Context: Erlendr gapamunnr falls out of favour with King Sigurðr jórsalafari because he holds the king under water in an attempt to save a man whom Sigurðr is trying drown during a swimming competition. The king asks Einarr Erlendr’s whereabouts.

Notes: [All]: This episode is also told in Hkr (ÍF 28, 269-70) in a slightly different version and with different characters (an Icelander, Jón, being saved by Sigurðr’s retainer, Sigurðr Sigurðarson). It is one of a series of episodes included in Mork (and Hkr) to document Sigurðr jórsalafari’s growing insanity (see Mork 1928-32, 388-99; ÍF 28, 262, 269). In his old age, Sigurðr suffered increasingly from delusions, and he was aware of his own mental state. According to Mork (1928-32, 397), he uttered the following prophetic statement about the future political situation in Norway: Illa ero þer at staddir Noregs menn at hafa øran konvng ifir yþr. en sva segir mer hvgr vm at þer myndot rꜹþo gulli cꜹpa af stvndo at ec vera helldr konvngr en þeir Haralldr oc M. aɴaʀ er grimr en aɴaʀ vvitr ‘You people of Norway are in a bad way having a mad king ruling you. But my mind tells me that you would soon wish to pay red gold to have me as a king rather than Haraldr and Magnús. One is mean and the other a fool’. — [All]: Mork is partly damaged, and H has been chosen as the main ms. The st. must have been composed prior to the death of Sigurðr jórsalafari in 1130. — [1] Erlendr: Erlendr gapamunnr ‘Gaping-mouth’ is otherwise unknown. — [1] hefir ‘has’: An early occurrence of the disyllabic, 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. form of the verb hafa ‘have’. The form is secured by the metre here. — [3] skaltattu (2nd pers. sg. pres. indic.) ‘you must not’: Skallattu (so H, F; skalattu Hr) ‘you must not’ has been emended to skaltattu (i.e. skalt-at-þú lit. ‘must-not-you’). The metre requires a long syllable in position 2, and the correct form of the 2nd pers. sg. pres. indic. of the verb skulu ‘must’ is skalt. — [5-6, 8] jǫfra heiðar galdrs hlíðrœkjanda ‘the cultivator of the slope of the chant of the chieftains of the heath [(lit. ‘slope-cultivator of the chant of the chieftains of the heath’) GIANTS > GOLD > WOMAN > MAN]’: The interpretation of this kenning was suggested by Kock (NN §962). Skj B construes it as follows: rœkjanda galdrs hlíð-jǫfra heiðar ‘the cultivator of the chant of the slope-chieftains of the heath’ i.e. ‘the cultivator of the chant of the giants’ (‘the cultivator of gold’). The problem with that interpretation is that the first element (hlíð- ‘slope-’) of the cpd hlíðrœkjanda ‘slope-cultivator’ must be a determinant for the base-word rœkjanda ‘cultivator’, and it cannot function as a determinant for jǫfra ‘chieftains’. Although Kock’s interpretation is the only possible one, it is not completely satisfactory, because, outside of Krákumál (Anon KrmVIII), men are not represented in kennings as ‘husband’ or ‘beloved’ (see Meissner 351). However, if we assume an agricultural/sexual sense here (see Note to Anon Nkt 8/1, 2), this objection disappears. The kenning ‘chant of the giant’ for ‘gold’ refers to the story about a giant’s wealth being measured in mouthfuls (see SnE 1998, I, 3).

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