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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

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

III. 2. Fragments (Frag) - 18

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.

Fragments — ESk FragIII

Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘ Einarr Skúlason, Fragments’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 151. <> (accessed 5 July 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18 

Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 12. Ubestemmelige vers, tilhørende forskellige fyrstedigte eller lausavísur (AI, 479-82, BI, 451-4)

SkP info: III, 162

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

11 — ESk Frag 11III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Fragments 11’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 162.

Gráns (bera gollna spônu)
— gǫfug ferð es sú jǫfri —
skýtr holmfjǫturr Heita
hrafni (snekkju stafnar).

{Holmfjǫturr} skýtr {hrafni gráns Heita}; stafnar snekkju bera gollna spônu; sú ferð es gǫfug jǫfri.

{The island-fetter} [SEA] pushes {the horse of the hostile Heiti <sea-king>} [SHIP]; the prows of the warship bear golden plates; that journey is glorious for the prince.

Mss: R(26v), Tˣ(27v), W(57), U(29v), B(5r), 744ˣ(31v-32r) (SnE); 2368ˣ(126), 743ˣ(95r) (LaufE)

Readings: [1] Gráns: grams U;    gollna: so Tˣ, W, 744ˣ, 2368ˣ, 743ˣ, goldna R, gyllta U    [2] sú: sá 743ˣ;    jǫfri: jǫfra U    [3] holm‑: so W, 744ˣ, 2368ˣ, 743ˣ, ‘hvm‑’ R, ‘hiolm‑’ Tˣ, ‘hlomn‑’ U;    Heita: ‘heiþa’ U    [4] hrafni: hrafna 744ˣ;    stafnar: stafna all

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 12. Ubestemmelige vers, tilhørende forskellige fyrstedigte eller lausavísur 11: AI, 481, BI, 453, Skald I, 223; SnE 1848-87, I, 328-9, II, 316, 529, III, 53, SnE 1931, 117, SnE 1998, I, 38; LaufE 1979, 389.

Context: As Frag 9-10 above in Skm. In LaufE, hólmfjǫturr ‘the island-fetter’ is given as one of the examples of sea-kennings.

Notes: [All]: In R, , W and B the stanza is preceded by a brief prose link (ok enn kvað hann ‘and again he said’ R), and in LaufE it is attributed to Einarr Skúlason. — [1] gráns (m. or n. gen. sg.) ‘hostile’: The only word that can be qualified by this adj. is Heita (m. gen. sg.) ‘of Heiti’, and gráns Heita ‘of the hostile Heiti’ is taken here to refer to the raging ocean (see also Note to Þfagr Frag 1/3). Skj B and Skald emend to gránn (m. nom. sg.) and take the adj. with holmfjǫturr (m. nom. sg.): gránn holmfjǫturr ‘the grey island-fetter’. Faulkes (SnE 1998) adopts the U variant and reads stafnar snekkju grams ‘the prows of the king’s warship’, which causes a lack of internal rhyme in l. 1 and is not supported by the other ms. witnesses. — [1] gollna spônu ‘golden plates’: So , W, 744ˣ, 2368ˣ, 743ˣSpánn was a plate that adorned the prow of a ship. Such plates could be elaborately carved and gilded (see Fritzner: ennispænir; Falk 1912, 43). For the R variant goldna ‘golden’, see ANG §275. — [3] Heita ‘Heiti <sea-king>’: For this name, see Note to Þul Sea-kings l. 3. — [4] hrafni ‘the horse’: This is the name of a legendary horse and a heiti for ‘horse’ (see Note to Anon Þorgþ I 1/1, Þul Hesta 3/2 and Anon Kálfv 2/5-6). — [4] stafnar (m. nom. pl.) ‘the prows’: In keeping with earlier eds, the acc./gen. pl. stafna has been emended to nom. pl. to provide the missing subject for the verb bera (3rd pers. pl. pres. indic.) ‘bear’ (l. 1).

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