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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, 158

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

7 — ESk Frag 7III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Fragments 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. 158.

The helmingr (ESk Frag 7) must have belonged to a royal panegyric, and Jón Sigurðsson (SnE 1848-87, III, 355) assigned it to Einarr’s encomium about Haraldr gilli (Hardr III; see Introduction to Frag 4 and 6 above). The half-stanza is transmitted in mss R (main ms.), , U, A, B (and 744ˣ) and C of Skm (SnE) and in LaufE (mss 2368ˣ and 743ˣ). It was copied in RE 1665(Ff3), which has no independent value. The helmingr follows Frag 6 above without intervening prose in LaufE (with idem ‘the same’ in the left margin, 743ˣ) and it is preceded by Ok enn sem hann kvað ‘And again, as he said’ in Skm. Hence it is attributed variously to Einarr skálaglamm (LaufE) or Einarr Skúlason (SnE). See Introduction to Frag 6.

En við hjaldr, þars hauldar,
hugþrútit svellr, lúta,
— Muninn drekkr blóð ór benjum
blásvartr — konungs hjarta.

En hugþrútit hjarta konungs svellr við hjaldr, þars hauldar lúta; blásvartr Muninn drekkr blóð ór benjum.

And the courage-enlarged heart of the king swells at the battle where freeholders sink down; blue-black Muninn <raven> drinks blood from wounds.

Mss: R(38r), Tˣ(39v), U(40v), A(14r), B(6v), 744ˣ(44v), C(7r) (SnE); 2368ˣ(95), 743ˣ(74v) (LaufE)

Readings: [1] hauldar: so all others, haulda R    [2] hug‑: haug‑ U;    ‑þrútit: ‑þrútinn U, C, ‘þrut[…]’ B, ‘‑þruti. .’ 744ˣ;    svellr: svellir Tˣ, svelgr U, C    [4] ‑svartr: ‘[…]’ B, ‘suartr’ 744ˣ;    konungs: munins U, kennir 2368ˣ, 743ˣ

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 12. Ubestemmelige vers, tilhørende forskellige fyrstedigte eller lausavísur 7: AI, 480, BI, 452, Skald I, 223; SnE 1848-87, I, 488-9, II, 353, 456, 543, 597, III, 100, SnE 1931, 172, SnE 1998, I, 91; LaufE 1979, 351.

Context: As Frag 6 above. Here Muninn is a name or heiti for ‘raven’.

Notes: [1] hauldar ‘freeholders’: Hauldar were Norwegian free farmers. The word is variously spelled hǫlðar, hǫldar and hauldar. The latter form is Norwegian (see ANG §§105 Anm., 319.2 and Note to Anon Nkt 15/2II). — [2] hugþrútit ‘courage-enlarged’: This cpd, which is otherwise not attested in Old Norse, is formed from the noun hugr m. ‘mind, courage’ and the adj. þrútinn ‘enlarged, swollen’. — [3] Muninn ‘Muninn <raven>’: Muninn (from munr ‘mind, soul’) was the other of Óðinn’s ravens in Old Norse myth (see Note to Frag 6/3 above and Note to Þul Hrafns 1/7).

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