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Runic Dictionary

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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 19 January 2022)

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, 571-2

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — ESk Lv 4II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Lausavísur 4’ 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. 571-2.

Oss lét abbatissa
angri firð of svangann,
dygg þótt víf in vígðu
víti fyrðar, gyrða.
Enn til áts með nunnum
(ógnarrakks) á Bakka,
(drós gladdit vin vísa)
vasat stallarinn kallaðr.

Abbatissa, firð angri, lét oss gyrða of svangann, þótt fyrðar víti dygg víf in vígðu. Enn stallarinn vasat kallaðr til áts með nunnum á Bakka; drós gladdit vin ógnarrakks vísa.

The abbess, removed from worries, made us [me] tighten the belt around the flank, although men may reproach the faithful consecrated women [for that]. And the marshal was not summoned to eat with the nuns at Bakke; the lady did not cheer the friend of the battle-brave leader.

Mss: Mork(36r) (Mork)

Readings: [4] fyrðar: fyr þat Mork    [8] vasat (‘varat’): ‘rarat’ Mork

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 11. Lausavísur 5: AI, 483, BI, 455, Skald I, 224, NN §§963, 2489; Mork 1867, 227, Mork 1928-32, 446, Andersson and Gade 2000, 393, 495 (Hsona).

Context: Einarr visits the nunnery at Nonneseter (Bakke, Trondheim) and fails to appear when King Eysteinn Haraldsson sits down to eat. To redeem himself, Einarr must recite a st. before the king finishes his drink.

Notes: [All]: As a retainer of the king, Einarr was expected to accompany Eysteinn to the table (see Holm-Olsen 1983, 57-8). — [All]: This and the following two sts must have been composed prior to the death of King Eysteinn Haraldsson (1157). — [2] firð angri ‘removed from worries’: Lit. ‘removed from worry’. Finnur Jónsson translates this as free of sorg over synder, syndsmærte ‘sorrow over sins or pain from sins’ (LP: angr) or den sorg-frie ‘the carefree’ (Skj B). Kock (NN §2489) suggests that Einarr deliberately juxtaposed the hungry poet and the well-fed abbess. — [2] of svangann (noun, m. acc. sg.) ‘around the flank’: Skj B treats this as an adj. svangan (m. acc. sg.) ‘hungry’ with the expletive particle of: lét oss of svangan ‘let us [me] [be] hungry’. That reading forces the emendation of dygg þótt ‘faithful although’(l. 3) to dugðut ‘were not able to’ because a finite verb (3rd pers. pl.) is needed with the subject in vígðu víf: in vígðu víf dugðut gyrða víti ‘the consecrated women were not able to prevent the punishment’ (ll. 3-4). For the suffixed article (svangann ‘the flank’), see ANG §472. See also stallarinn ‘the marshal’ (l. 8). For a similar image of a hungry retainer with a belt pulling close to his spine, see SnH Lv 3/7, 8: belti dregr hrygg mér at hvru ‘the belt truly pulls at my spine’. — [4] fyrðar (m. nom. pl.) ‘people’: The ms. reads fyr þat ‘for that’. The prepositional phrase has been retained in Skj B, but it makes the l. unmetrical: the third syllable (fyr) must carry a full stress and internal rhyme and a monosyllabic proclitic prep. cannot do that. The present reading follows that of NN §2183 (for earlier attempts at interpretation, see NN §2183). — [6] ógnarrakks ‘battle-brave’: Kock (NN §963; Skald) construes this phrase with stallari (m. nom. sg.) ‘the marshal’ (l. 8), which is ungrammatical (rakks ‘brave’ is in the gen.). — [8] stallarinn ‘the marshal’: For this office, see Note to Úlfr Lv l. 1. For the suffixed article, see Note to l. 2 above.

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