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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

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

11. Lausavísur (Lv) - 6

Skj info: Einarr Skúlason, Islandsk skjald, 12. årh. (AI, 455-85, BI, 423-57).

Skj poems:
1. Sigurðardrápa
2. Haraldsdrápa I
3. Haraldsdrápa II
4. Haraldssonakvæði(?)
5. Sigurðardrápa
6. Geisli
7. Runhenda
8. Eysteinsdrápa
9. Ingadrápa
10. Elfarvísur
11. Lausavísur
11. Lausavísur
11. Øxarflokkr(?)
12. Ubestemmelige vers, tilhørende forskellige fyrstedigte eller lausavísur

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, ‘(Introduction to) 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.

 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, 573-4

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — ESk Lv 6II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Lausavísur 6’ 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. 573-4.

Hola bôru rístr hlýrum
hreystisprund at sundi
(blæss élreki of ási)
Útsteins (vefi þrútna).
Varla heldr und vildra
víkmarr á jarðríki
— breiðr viðr brimsgang súðum
barmr — lyptingar farmi.

Hreystisprund rístr hola bôru hlýrum at sundi Útsteins; {élreki} blæss þrútna vefi of ási. Varla heldr {víkmarr} á jarðríki und vildra farmi lyptingar; breiðr barmr viðr brimsgang súðum.

The spirited woman carves the hollow billow with the bow toward the straits of Utsteinen; {the storm-chaser} [WIND] fills the swollen sails above the sprit. There is hardly another {bay-steed} [SHIP] on earth that sails beneath a more precious burden of the deck; the broad rim gains surf-speed for the ship-boards.

Mss: Mork(36r) (Mork)

Readings: [7] viðr: við added in the right margin Mork

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 11. Lausavísur 7: AI, 484, BI, 456, Skald I, 224, NN §3108; Mork 1867, 228, Mork 1928-32, 448, Andersson and Gade 2000, 394, 495 (Hsona).

Context: King Eysteinn Haraldsson challenges Einarr to compose a st. about the wife of Páll Skoptason, Ragnhildr, who is sailing on a ship out of the bay of Bergen. According to the bet, Einarr must complete the st. before the ship sails past Holmen. In return, Einarr stipulates that King Eysteinn and his retainers must each memorise one l. of the st. Einarr wins the bet, because the others can only remember the first and the last l.

Notes: [4] Útsteins ‘of Utsteinen’: Located near Haugesund in Boknafjorden, Hordaland, Norway. This is a good distance south of Bergen; hence there is a discrepancy between the information given in the prose and in the poetry. — [7, 8] breiðr barmr ‘the broad rim’: I.e. the upper strakes in the ship-side, but cf. ModIcel. barmur ‘bosom’, ModNorw. barm ‘breast’ (see AEW: barmr 1). It is tempting to take this wording as an intended pun on the physical attributes of the ‘precious burden’ of the ship. See such fem. nicknames as knarrarbringaknǫrr-breasted’, i.e. ‘with breasts like the prow of a ship’ (Finnur Jónsson 1907, 214-15). However, barmr is not attested in the meaning ‘bosom, breast’ until after the Reformation (see Jesch 2001a, 141 n. 43). See also Note to Bǫlv Hardr 2/8. — [7] viðr (3rd pers. sg. pres. indic.) ‘gains’: Við ‘with’ (added in right margin of the ms.) leaves the cl. without a verb. — [7] súðum ‘for the ship-boards’: See Note to Hharð Gamv 2/2. — [8] lyptingar ‘of the deck’: See Note to Arn Hryn 10/1. — [8] lyptingar ‘of the deck’: Lypting was the raised deck in the back of a ship (see Falk 1912, 49, 82, 84; Jesch 2001a, 153).

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