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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.

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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, 104

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

13 — Eil Þdr 13III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Eilífr Goðrúnarson, Þórsdrápa 13’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 104.

Dreif fyr dróttar kneyfi
dolg-Svíþjóðar kolgu
(sótti ferð á flótta)
flesdrótt í vô (nesja),
þás funhristis fasta
(flóðrifs Danir) stóðu
(knôttu) Jólnis ættir
(útvés fyrir lúta),

{Flesdrótt} dreif í vô fyr {kneyfi {dróttar {kolgu dolg-Svíþjóðar}}}; {ferð nesja} sótti á flótta, þás {{{Jólnis fun}hristis} ættir} stóðu fasta; {Danir {útvés {flóðrifs}}} knôttu lúta fyrir,

{The skerry-host} [GIANTS] rushed into disaster because of {the oppressor {of the host {of the cold wave of the hostile Sweden}}} [= Gandvík > GIANTS > = Þórr]; {the troop of headlands} [GIANTS] took to flight, when {the group {of the shaker {of the flame of Jólnir <= Óðinn>}}} [(lit. ‘group of the flame-shaker of Jólnir’) SWORD > WARRIOR > WARRIORS = Þórr and Þjálfi] stood firm; {the Danes {of the outlying sanctuary {of the sea-rib}}} [STONE > COAST > GIANTS] fell before [them],

Mss: R(25r), Tˣ(25v), W(53) (SnE)

Readings: [1] fyr: með all    [2] kolgu: so Tˣ, W, kolga R    [4] í vô: ‘iue’ Tˣ    [5] ‑hristis: ‑ristis R, Tˣ, ‘‑ristil’ W;    fasta: falla Tˣ

Editions: Skj: Eilífr Goðrúnarson, 2. Þórsdrápa 12: AI, 150, BI, 142, Skald I, 78, NN §§303B, C, 458, 459, 3396L; SnE 1848-87, I, 298-9, III, 33-4, SnE 1931, 109, SnE 1998, I, 28.

Context: See Context to st. 1.

Notes: [1] dreif ‘rushed’: For drífa in the meaning ‘go away, move on’, see Fritzner: drífa 6. — [1] fyr ‘because of’: All mss read með ‘with’, but that makes no sense in the context, because the giants are not fleeing with Þórr, but from him (Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 391; Skj B; NN §458; Reichardt 1948, 367). Therefore all eds except Kiil (1956, 135) and Davidson (1983, 617-18) emend með (all mss.) to fyr. — [1-2] kneyfi dróttar kolgu dolg-Svíþjóðar ‘the oppressor of the host of the wave of the hostile Sweden [= Gandvík > GIANTS > = Þórr]’: Line 2 must contain a determinant for dróttar ‘of the host’ (l. 1) to form a kenning that refers to a giant of whom Þórr can be the oppressor (kneyfir). To avoid construing a kenning in which dolg ‘enemy’ (l. 2) is connected with ferð ‘troop’ (l. 3) to form a cpd (tmesis) (so Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1851, 14; Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 392), dolg could be taken as the first element of a cpd with Svíþjóðar as the second element (so NN §458; Davidson 1983, 618). Dolg-Svíþjóðar ‘of the hostile Sweden’ is then a variation on ‘enemy land’, which needs another determinant, namely, kolgu ‘of the wave’. Kolgu dolg-Svíþjóðar ‘of the cold wave of the hostile Sweden’ can be interpreted as a kenning for Gandvík, the White Sea (see Note to st. 2/6). Thus the giant-kenning ‘the host of the White Sea’ corresponds to the giant-kenning ‘the Scots of Gandvík’ in st. 2. According to Kock (NN §458) the kenning kolga dolg-Svíþjóðar refers to the river Þórr has to cross. Reichardt (1948, 368) forms the cpd dolg-kolgu (l. 2) and construes dróttar Svíþjóðar dolg-kolgu ‘the host of the land of the hostile wave’. This solution also seems acceptable, although it contains tmesis (but within the same line). — [3, 4] ferð nesja ‘the troop of headlands [GIANTS]’: Here, too, cliffs and islands of a coastal landscape serve as the determinant in a giant-kenning (see Notes to st. 12/6 and ll. 6, 8 below). — [4] flesdrótt ‘the skerry-host [GIANTS]’: This kenning is a variation on the giant-kenning ‘people of the rocks’. — [5, 7] Jólnis funhristis ættir ‘the group of the shaker of the flame of Jólnir <= Óðinn> [(lit. ‘group of the flame-shaker of Jólnir’) SWORD > WARRIOR > WARRIORS = Þórr and Þjálfi]’: Here again, a kenning for ‘warriors’ is used for Þórr and Þjálfi (see Marold 1990a, 122-8 and Introduction above). The warrior is described as ‘shaker of the sword’ and the sword is called ‘flame of Jólnir <= Óðinn>’. For the emendation funhristis see below. Ætt is not only a term for ‘family, kin’ but is often used as a general term for ‘group’ (LP: ætt 2), and together with the gen. it functions as a paraphrase here (‘the group of the warrior’ are ‘warriors’). That ætt is used in pl. can be explained by the fact that occasionally the pl. of a word is used for the sg. for metrical reasons; here the sg. is ætt, but the cadence requires two syllables (hence ættir rather than ætt). Finnur Jónsson (1900b, 391; Skj B and LP: funristis) and Reichardt (1948, 369) could not explain mss’ ‘funristis’ (R, ) or ‘funristil’ (W), but Kock (NN §459, followed by Davidson 1983, 620) suggests emendation to funhristis ‘flame-thrower’, which he then combines with fasta ‘of lightning’ to get a Þórr-kenning. As Reichardt (1948, 369) rightly observes, however, fasti and fun are synonyms; hence fasti cannot determine fun. — [6, 8] Danir útvés flóðrifs ‘the Danes of the outlying sanctuary of the sea-rib [STONE > COAST > GIANTS]’: Here, again, the determinant of the giant-kenning is the coastal landscape. Flóðrifs ‘of the sea-rib [STONE]’ by itself would be sufficient as the determinant in a giant-kenning, but in this particular stanza the determinants of the giant-kennings are words chosen from the domain of a steep coastal landscape, such as fles- ‘skerries’, nesja ‘headlands’ and, here, útvé. In the latter case, ‘sanctuary’ is a variation on ‘dwelling, residence’ (Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 392; LP: útvé). Kock (NN §459) and Reichardt (1948, 369) combine útvés with ættir Jólnis which gives the kenning ‘families of the deity of the far-off dwelling [GIANTS]’; Kiil’s (1956, 137-8) interpretation is closely similar, except that he regards Jólnir útvés ‘the deity of the far-off dwelling’ as a kenning for the giant Geirrøðr.

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