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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eilífr Goðrúnarson (Eil)

10th century; volume 3; ed. Edith Marold;

1. Þórsdrápa (Þdr) - 23

Skj info: Eilífr Goðrúnarson, Islandsk skjald, omkr. 1000. (AI, 148-52, BI, 139-44).

Skj poems:
1. Et digt om Hakon jarl
2. Þórsdrápa
3. Af et kristeligt digt

Hardly anything is known about the life of Eilífr Goðrúnarson (Eil). According to Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 256, 266, 280), he was active as a skald at the court of Hákon jarl Sigurðarson in Norway around the end of the tenth century. Some scholars have argued that a word-play in a stanza preserved in Skm (SnE) conceals the name of Hákon jarl, thus confirming the information of Skáldatal, but the present edition, following Lie (1976, 399) is sceptical of that hypothesis (see Þdr 23, Note to [All]). Eilífr’s only surviving works are the long poem Þórsdrápa (Eil Þdr, 23 stanzas) and one fragment of a Christian poem (Eil Frag).

Þórsdrápa — Eil ÞdrIII

Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Eilífr Goðrúnarson, Þórsdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 68.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23 

Skj: Eilífr Goðrúnarson: 2. Þórsdrápa (AI, 148-52, BI, 139-44); stanzas (if different): 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21

SkP info: III, 99

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

11 — Eil Þdr 11III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Eilífr Goðrúnarson, Þórsdrápa 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. 99.

Né djúpakǫrn drôpu
dolgs vamms firum glamma
stríðkviðjǫndum stǫðvar
stall við rastar falli.
Ógndjarfan hlaut arfi
Eiðsfjarðar hug meira;
skalfa Þórs né Þjalfa
þróttar steinn við ótta.

Né drôpu stall {{djúpakǫrn} dolgs} stríðkviðjǫndum {firum vamms {stǫðvar glamma}} við falli rastar. {Arfi Eiðsfjarðar} hlaut meira ógndjarfan hug; {steinn þróttar} Þórs né Þjalfa skalfa við ótta.

Nor did {{the sea-acorns} [STONES] of animosity} [HEARTS] of the attack-prohibitors {of the disgraceful men {of the place of wolves}} [MOUNTAINS > GIANTS] falter when facing the torrent of the river. {The heir of Eidsfjorden} [= Hákon jarl?] got even more battle-daring courage; {the stone of valour} [HEART] of neither Þórr nor Þjálfi shook with fear.

Mss: R(25r), Tˣ(25v), W(53) (SnE)

Readings: [1] ‑akǫrn drôpu: so Tˣ, W, ‘[…]arn d(rapv)’(?) R    [2] dolgs: dolg Tˣ, W;    vamms: ‘uans’ Tˣ;    glamma: so W, ‘gl[…]’ R, ‘g\l/amma’ Tˣ    [3] stríðkviðjǫndum: so Tˣ, ‘[…]dvm’ R, ‘st[…]kviðivndvm’ W    [4] falli: so W, palli R, Tˣ    [6] Eiðsfjarðar: so Tˣ, W, ‘eið[…]’ R;    hug: so Tˣ, W, ‘[…]’ R    [7] Þórs: corrected from ‘þiors’ W

Editions: Skj: Eilífr Goðrúnarson, 2. Þórsdrápa 10: AI, 150, BI, 141, Skald I, 77, NN §§454, 455, 1936A, 2502B; SnE 1848-87, I, 296-7, III, 31-2, SnE 1931, 108-9, SnE 1998, I, 28.

Context: See Context to st. 1.

Notes: [1, 2] djúpakǫrn dolgs ‘the sea-acorns [STONES] of animosity [HEARTS]’: Hearts are often paraphrased in kennings with the base-word ‘stone’ (Meissner 138). Here, the base-word is replaced by the kenning ‘sea-acorns’ whose referent is ‘stones’. Resorting to tmesis by combining djúp- with ‑rǫst (djúp-rǫst, so Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1851, 8, 14) or ‑fall (djúp-fall, so Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 389; Skj B, followed by Davidson 1983, 608) is unnecessary. The determinant of djúpakǫrn is dolgs ‘of animosity’, and just like the determinant ‘valour’ in the heart-kenning steinn þróttar ‘stone of valour’ (l. 8), it refers to an intense feeling (cf. Meissner 138). The present interpretation follows ms. R, in which the first two words of l. 2 are separate. Mss and W have what would be the metrically more correct cpd dolgvamms ‘of hostile disgrace’ for this A2k-line (on the filler of this type of line, see Gade 1995a, 119). A cpd like ‘disgrace of animosity’ (Kiil 1956, 129), however, is not a suitable determinant for a heart-kenning that refers to Þórr’s and Þjálfi’s hearts. The cpd dolgvamms could be combined with firar ‘men’, the base-word of the giant-kenning (as in NN §454), but the heart-kenning would then lose its determinant because djúpakǫrn ‘acorns of the deep’ alone cannot be a kenning for ‘hearts’ (NN §454). — [1, 4] drôpu stall ‘falter’: The idiomatic expression hjarta drepr stall occurs elsewhere in skaldic verse (see LP: 2. stallr), and it probably means ‘the heart stopped beating’. See Note to Arn Þorfdr 7/5, 8II, as well as Arn Hryn 12/7-8II and Sturl Hákkv 38/1, 4II. — [2-3] stríðkviðjǫndum firum vamms stǫðvar glamma ‘of the attack-prohibitors of the disgraceful men of the place of wolves [MOUNTAINS > GIANTS]’: The whole phrase refers to Þórr and Þjálfi, but only firum vamms stǫðvar glamma ‘the disgraceful men of the place of wolves [MOUNTAINS > GIANTS]’ can be regarded as kenning. Stríðkviðjǫndum is a verbal cpd, meaning ‘attack-prohibiting’, the dat. firum is required from ‑kviðja (kviðja e-m e-t), and the object is stríð. Hence, Þórr and Þjálfi are designated as the ones who prevent the giants from launching an attack. Finnur Jónsson’s (LP: stríðkviðjandi) translation of the word as kraftig bekæmper ‘strong fighter’ is incorrect because kviðja is not attested in the meaning ‘fight’; rather, it is a legal term that means ‘prohibit’ (Marold 1990a, 126). However, it must be noted that stríð is not attested in the sense ‘battle, attack’ until later (LP: stríð). Firum ‘men’ depends syntactically on ‑kviðjǫndum ‘prohibiting ones’. Firum is the base-word of a giant-kenning whose determinant is stǫðvar glamma ‘of the place of wolves [MOUNTAINS]’. Vamms ‘of the fault’ qualifies firum but is not part of the logical structure of the kenning, therefore it is translated here as an adj. ‘disgraceful’. The whole expression cannot be taken as a kenning, since firum (dat. pl.) depends syntactically on kviðjǫndum and is not, as one would expect for a kenning, a gen. — [4] rastar ‘of the river’: See LP: 2. rǫst. — [5-8]: This helmingr contains the poem’s stef and reappears in st. 22 with variations in the first two lines. Lines 7-8 confirm the courage and fearlessness of the two mythical heroes, Þórr and Þjálfi; l. 5-6, if they refer to Hákon jarl, compare him to the two mythical figures and place him above them: he is said to possess even greater courage (meira hug). — [5-6] arfi Eiðsfjarðar ‘the heir of Eidsfjorden [= Hákon jarl?]’: All previous attempts to interpret ll. 5-6 are unsatisfactory. The present interpretation, which is also tentative, avoids emendation. The text itself is not difficult to translate: ‘the heir of Eidsfjorden got even more battle-daring courage’. The difficulty lies in identifying who ‘the heir of Eidsfjorden’ might be. In Norway there are several fjords of this name; the arm of Nordfjord, on the border between Sunnmøre and Sogn og Fjordane, could be the one meant here. It is thought to have formed the old border between the two districts (fylki). North of Nordfjord is Stadlandet (ON Staðr), the southern edge of Hákon jarl’s territory (cf. ÓTHkr ch. 17, ÍF 26, 244). If Eidsfjorden did form part of this border, it would justify ‘heir (i.e. ‘owner’) of Eidsfjorden’ as a reference to Hákon jarl (Marold 1990a, 125). Earlier eds have resorted to more or less substantial emendations in their attempts to interpret the kenning: Eiðs firðar hlaut (= hlutu) … ‘the oath-brothers had …’ (Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1851, 8, 15); Atli hlaut … eirfjarðan hug ‘Atli (one of Þórr’s names) had a merciless mind’ (Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 389; Skj B); arfi eirs fjarðar ‘the heir of the ore of the fjord [GOLD > = Loki]’ (NN §455), referring to Loki, who wins the golden treasure from the pike Andvari (Reg 3-4); arfi eirs fjarðar ‘the heir of the fjord of the ore [EARTH = Jǫrð > = Þórr]’ (de Vries 1933, 60-1); arfi eiðs fjarðar ‘the heir of the isthmus of the fjord [EARTH = Jǫrð > = Þórr]’ (Kiil 1956, 131). — [7] steinn þróttar Þórs né Þjalfa skalfa ‘the stone of valour [HEART] of neither Þórr nor Þjálfi shook’: Skalfa consists of skalf (3rd pers. sg. pret. indic. of skjálfa ‘shake’) and the negation -a. is the replication of the negation before Þjalfa (rather than the positive ok ‘and’). — [8] steinn þróttar ‘the stone of valour [HEART]’: This heart-kenning corresponds once more to the kenning pattern ‘stone of courage, belligerence’ (see Meissner 138 and Note to ll. 1, 2 above).

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