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Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

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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 25 June 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, 160

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

9 — ESk Frag 9III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Fragments 9’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 160.

These fragments (ESk Frag 9-13) belong to a sequence of stanzas cited without intervening prose commentary. The poet is identified as ‘Einarr Skúlason’ in all mss. Frag 9 does not appear to be a part of an encomium; rather, the poet describes a journey away from Iceland. The content of Frag 10, 12 and 13, which are also devoted to sea-voyages, gives no indication about the nature of the poem or poems to which they belong, but Frag 11 describes the journey of a ruler. Jón Sigurðson (SnE 1848-87, III, 354-6) assigned Frag 10 and 11 to Einarr’s panegyric about Sigurðr jórsalafari (Sigdr III; see Introduction to Frag 2) and Frag 9, 12 and 13 to his poem about Haraldr gilli (Hardr III; see Introduction to Frag 4). All stanzas are found in mss R (main ms.), and B of SnE (Skm). Because B is now almost illegible, 744ˣ has been used in its place. Frag 9-11 are also transmitted in W and U, Frag 13 in U, and Frag 9 and 11 are found in LaufE (mss 2368ˣ, 743ˣ) and RE(Kk2).

Harðr hefr ǫrt frá jǫrðu
élvindr — svana strindar
blakkr lætr í sog søkkva
snægrund — skipi hrundit.

Harðr élvindr hefr hrundit skipi ǫrt frá jǫrðu; {blakkr {strindar svana}} lætr {snægrund} søkkva í sog.

The strong storm-wind has pushed the ship quickly away from the shore; {the steed {of the land of swans}} [SEA > SHIP] makes {the snow-ground} [= Iceland] sink into the sea.

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

Readings: [1] Harðr: Harð Tˣ;    frá: fyrir U    [3] blakkr lætr: so W, U, 744ˣ, 2368ˣ, 743ˣ, blakkleitr R, ‘bla er letr’ Tˣ;    sog: sæ U, ‘seg’ 2368ˣ, segg 743ˣ    [4] snæ‑: so all others, sæ‑ R

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 12. Ubestemmelige vers, tilhørende forskellige fyrstedigte eller lausavísur 9: AI, 481, BI, 453, Skald I, 223; SnE 1848-87, I, 326-7, II, 316, 529, III, 52, SnE 1931, 117, SnE 1998, I, 37; LaufE 1979, 389.

Context: In Skm the stanza is found among several stanzas that contain kennings for ‘sea’, and in LaufE, strind svana ‘land of swans’ is given as an example of a sea-kenning.

Notes: [All]: Einarr must have composed the stanza while travelling from Iceland (to Norway?) on a ship. There is no evidence that it was part of an encomium. Although there are instances in which the opening stanzas of a panegyric detail the poet’s own journeys (e.g. Arn Hryn 1-2II and Notes), the pres. tense used by Einarr in this instance speaks against such an attribution. — [4] snægrund ‘the snow-ground [= Iceland]’: So all other mss. Sægrund ‘the sea-ground’ (R) could be taken as a periphrasis for the Danish island of Sjælland (ON Sæland or Sjáland; so SnE 1848-87, III), but that is unlikely in view of the reading of the other mss.

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