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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 28 May 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, 168

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

18 — ESk Frag 18III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Fragments 18’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 168.

The helmingr (ESk Frag 18) describes a sea-voyage during which the poet, who is identified as Einarr (no patronymic) in all mss, may have been present. It is recorded in Skm (SnE) in mss R (main ms.), , A, B and C. Ms. B is now too damaged to be read with any certainty, and 744ˣ has been used in its place.

Né framlyndir fundu
fyrr, (hykkat lô kyrrðu)
þars sær á við varra
(vini óra) fell stórum.

Framlyndir né fundu fyrr, þars sær fell stórum á {við varra}; hykkat lô kyrrðu vini óra.

The confident ones did not discover it earlier, where the sea fell violently on {the wood of the wake} [SHIP]; I do not believe the wave calmed our friends.

Mss: R(38v), Tˣ(40r), A(13v), B(6r), 744ˣ(36v), C(7v) (SnE)

Readings: [1] framlyndir: framlynd Tˣ, ‘framlý..dir’ 744ˣ;    fundu: fundusk 744ˣ    [2] hykkat lô: ‘hyck acla’ Tˣ, hykkat ek lô C;    kyrrðu: kyrra C    [3] á: um C;    varra: ‘vorv’ R, fóru Tˣ, ‘varv’ A, ‘varo’ 744ˣ, ‘vara’ C    [4] vini óra: ‘ymi vra’ Tˣ;    fell: fellr C

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 12. Ubestemmelige vers, tilhørende forskellige fyrstedigte eller lausavísur 18: AI, 482, BI, 454, Skald I, 223, NN §961; SnE 1848-87, I, 502-3, II, 452, 535, 601, III, 105, SnE 1931, 176, SnE 1998, I, 96.

Context: Lá is given among the heiti for ‘wave’ in Skm.

Notes: [All]: The sense of the helmingr is that, during a sea-voyage, the poet’s friends were surprised by a wave that either hit the ship or poured in over the railing. — [3] á við varra ‘on the wood of the wake [SHIP]’: Skj B separates the preposition á ‘on’ from the following nominal phrase and construes a prepositional phrase á vini óra ‘on our friends’, taking við varra ‘the wood of the wake’ as the object of kyrrðu ‘calmed’ (past inf., l. 2). Such a word order is otherwise unattested in skaldic syntax (see NN §961). — [3] varra (m. gen. pl.) ‘of the wake’: The ms. variants make no sense in this context, and the emendation is in keeping with earlier eds. Vǫrr can either mean ‘wake (of a ship)’ or ‘oar-stroke’, both of which are suitable as determinants in a kenning for ‘ship’. See also Note to Frag 12/2 above.

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