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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 28 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, 570-1

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — ESk Lv 3II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Lausavísur 3’ 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. 570-1.

Ekki hlaut af ítrum
Einarr gjafa Sveini
— ǫld lofar ǫðlings mildi
æðrustyggs — fyr kvæði.
Danskr harri metr dýrra
— dugir miðlung þat — fiðlur
— ræðr fyr ræsis auði
Rípa-Ulfr — ok pípur.

Einarr hlaut ekki gjafa af ítrum Sveini fyr kvæði; ǫld lofar mildi æðrustyggs ǫðlings. Danskr harri metr fiðlur ok pípur dýrra; þat dugir miðlung; Rípa-Ulfr ræðr fyr auði ræsis.

Einarr received no gift from precious Sveinn for the poem; people praise the generosity of the fright-shy prince. The Danish lord values fiddles and flutes more highly; that is not good enough; Rípa-Úlfr (‘Úlfr of Ribe’) controls the ruler’s wealth.

Mss: (212), 18ˣ(17r), 873ˣ(68r), 1006ˣ(873-874), 1005ˣ(62r) (Knýtl)

Readings: [2] gjafa: gjafir af 1006ˣ, 1005ˣ    [4] styggs: styrks 1006ˣ, 1005ˣ    [6] dugir: ‘dugvr’ 1006ˣ, ‘dugar’ 1005ˣ;    miðlung: ‘midlaun’ 1006ˣ, 1005ˣ    [8] Rípa‑Ulfr: ‘rypur Vlfur’ 1005ˣ

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 11. Lausavísur 3: AI, 483, BI, 455, Skald I, 224; ÍF 35, 275 (ch. 108), 1741, 212-13.

Context: Einarr travels to Denmark (c. 1153) and recites a poem in praise of the Dan. king Sveinn svíðandi ‘the Singeing’ Eiríksson, from whom he receives no reward.

Notes: [All]: The st. is preserved in Knýtl and JÓ is the main ms. — [1, 2] af ítrum Sveini ‘from precious Sveinn’: Sveinn svíðandi Eiríksson (r. 1147-57) was the illegitimate son of Eiríkr eymuni ‘the Long-remembered’ Eiríksson (d. 1137). — [6, 8] fiðlur ok pípur ‘fiddles and flutes’: Fiðla ‘fiddle’ was a stringed instrument played with a bow, most likely a vielle with a flat back. Pípa ‘flute’ was a short, cylindrical flute with seven holes, a smaller version of the modern recorder. It appears to have been played with the left hand while the minstrel was simultaneously beating a drum with his right hand (see Panum 1934, 57, 66-7). For minstrels in ON society, see Note to ESk Lv 5 [All]. — [8] Rípa-Ulfr ‘(“Úlfr of Ribe”)’: One of King Sveinn’s counsellors. He fell in the battle of Grathe Hede (Graðarheiðr) near Viborg in Jylland (Jutland), Denmark, on 23 October 1157, along with King Sveinn (so ÍF 35, 293). According to Saxo (2005, II, 14, 19, 16, pp. 240-1), he was captured and executed after that battle. Ribe is a town in Jylland.

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