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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 26 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, 169

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

7 — ESk Lv 7III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Lausavísur 7’ 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.

This stanza (ESk Lv 7) is transmitted in mss R (main ms.), , W, U and A of Skm (SnE), as well as in mss 2368ˣ and 743ˣ of LaufE and in RE 1665(Kk3) (copied from a ms. close to 743ˣ and of no independent value). The poet is identified as Einarr (no patronymic) in all mss. For the attribution of this helmingr to Einarr Skúlason, see Fidjestøl (1982, 100). It is tempting to connect the stanza with the occasion (described in ESk Lv 3II) on which Einarr travelled to Denmark (c. 1053) to present a poem to the Danish king Sveinn svíðandi ‘the Singeing’ Eiríksson (r. 1147-57) and received no reward for his efforts (see ÍF 35, 275). See also Finnur Jónsson (SnE 1848-87, III, 697-8).

Baugs, getr með þér þeygi,
þýðr, drengr vesa lengi,
(elg búum flóðs, nema fylgi)
friðstøkkvir (því nøkkvat).

Drengr getr þeygi vesa lengi með þér, {þýðr friðstøkkvir baugs}; búum {elg flóðs}, nema nøkkvat fylgi því.

The man certainly cannot remain long with you, {kind truce-banisher of the ring} [GENEROUS MAN]; we’ll ready {the elk of the flood} [SHIP] unless something follows [in return] for that.

Mss: R(35r), Tˣ(36v), W(80), U(34r), A(12r) (SnE); 2368ˣ(130), 743ˣ(97v) (LaufE)

Readings: [2] þýðr: þrúðr Tˣ;    vesa (‘vera’): una A    [3] elg búum: ‘eglbuinn’ 2368ˣ, ‘Elgbunn’ 743ˣ    [4] ‑støkkvir (‘‑stavkqvir’): ‘‑stocuir’ Tˣ, ‘‑stokkvir’ W, 743ˣ, ‘‑stockvir’ U, ‘‑stǫckvi’ A, ‘stóckuir’ 2368ˣ;    því: þér U, ‘þi’ A;    nøkkvat (‘nakqva’): ‘noccua’ Tˣ, ‘nakkva’ W, ‘nockvt’ U, ‘nokc ᷎’ A, ‘nóckua’ 2368ˣ, ‘nockva’ 743ˣ

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 11. Lausavísur 4: AI, 483, BI, 455, Skald I, 224; SnE 1848-87, I, 444-5, II, 332, 443, III, 87-8, SnE 1931, 157, SnE 1998, I, 75; LaufE 1979, 394.

Context: Elgr flóðs ‘elk of the flood’ is given as an illustration of a ship-kenning in both Skm and LaufE.

Notes: [1, 4] friðstøkkvir baugs ‘truce-banisher of the ring [GENEROUS MAN]’: A man who banishes the truce of rings is a person who violates their peace by distributing them as gifts. Alternatively, baugr ‘ring’ could be taken as pars pro toto for ‘shield’ (see LP: baugr 4), in which case friðstøkkvir baugs ‘truce-banisher of the shield’ would be a kenning for ‘warrior’. — [3] elg ‘the elk’: This is the Eurasian elk (Alces alces). — [3] búum (1st pers. pl. pres. indic.) ‘we’ll ready’: Taken here as Einarr referring either to himself in the 1st pers. pl. or to himself and his men. It could also be construed as 1st pers. pl. imp. ‘let us ready’, but that is less likely because Einarr appears to be addressing a ruler. — [4] -støkkvir; nøkkvat ‘-banisher; something’: The vowel in this internal rhyme is ensured by -støkkvir (w-umlaut of [e], see AEW: 2. støkkva). For the many possible variant spellings of nøkkvat ‘something’, which caused scribal confusion in the various mss containing this stanza, see ANG §475.3. See also Lv 8/8 below and Note there. — [4] því ‘[in return] for that’: I.e. in return for the poem (see Introduction above).

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