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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, 119

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

20 — Eil Þdr 20III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Eilífr Goðrúnarson, Þórsdrápa 20’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 119.

Glaums niðjum fór gǫrva
gramr með dreyrgum hamri;
of salvanið Synjar
sigr hlaut arinbrautar.
Kom at tvíviðar tívi,
tollurr karms þás harmi,
-brautar liðs, of beitti,
bekk- fall, jǫtuns rekka.


The ruler with the bloody hammer [= Þórr] totally destroyed {the descendants of Glaumr}; [GIANTS] [he] gained victory over {the hall-visitor {of the Syn {of the hearth-stone-path}}}. [MOUNTAINS > GIANTESS > GIANT] The fall of the retinue {of the bench-road} [HOUSE] came at {the god of the bow}, [WARRIOR = Geirrøðr] when {the pole of the wagon-cab} [CHARIOTEER = Þórr] inflicted violence on the warriors of the giant.

context: See Context to st. 1.

notes: [1]: This line lacks skothending. Kock attempts to restore the hending by emending gǫrvar ‘totally’ to gumna ‘of the men’ (NN §466) or griðja ‘of the comrades’ (NN §3056). Both emendations change the text significantly and are hardly justified by a missing hending. Reichardt (1948, 386) suggests reversing the order of niðjum and fór to create hending on gǫrva and fór. In that case, however, the hending falls on a dip, which rarely happens. — [5-8]: All earlier interpretations of this helmingr are problematic because of their many emendations and syntactic difficulties; Reichardt (1948, 387-8) believes that the half-stanza cannot be interpreted. The present interpretation proceeds from the fact that fall n. nom./acc. sg. ‘fall’ (l. 8) must be either the subject of the main clause or the acc. object of a verb. Since there is no verb in the helmingr which requires an acc., fall must be the subject of the main clause (cf. Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 399 and Skj B; NN §468; Reichardt 1948, 388), and that fits well with kom at tívi tvíviðar ‘came to the god of the bow [WARRIOR = Geirrøðr]’ (l. 5). However, fall as the subject of the main clause is difficult to reconcile with the subsequent rel. clause beginning with sás (m. nom. sg.), which can only refer to an antecedent m. nom. noun. Therefore sás has been emended to þás ‘when’. Tollurr karms ‘the pole of the wagon-box [CHARIOTEER = Þórr]’ (l. 6) is then the subject of the subordinate clause and is combined with of beitti harmi ‘inflicted violence on’ (ll. 6, 7). Rekka jǫtuns ‘the warriors of the giant’ (l. 8) is taken as the object of beitti harmi. This construction avoids the awkward syntactic fragmentation of the last line as e.g. in Skj B. Finally, fall ‘fall’ needs a qualifier, and this is provided by the remaining words brautar liðs (l. 7) and bekk (l. 8). Here tmesis is unavoidable: bekk- ‘bench’ is combined with ‑brautar ‘of the road’ to form the house-kenning ‘of the bench-road’ following the pattern ‘place where sth. can be found’. Joined with liðs ‘of the retinue’, this expression designates the giants, the followers of Geirrøðr.

texts: Skm 91, SnE 93

editions: Skj Eilífr Goðrúnarson: 2. Þórsdrápa 19 (AI, 151; BI, 143); Skald I, 78-9, NN §§466-8, 3056; SnE 1848-87, I, 302-3, III, 38-9, SnE 1931, 110, SnE 1998, I, 29.


GKS 2367 4° (R) 25r, 20 - 25r, 22 (SnE)  image  image  image  
Traj 1374x (Tx) 26r, 1 - 26r, 1 (SnE)  image  
AM 242 fol (W) 53, 32 - 54, 2 (SnE)  image  image  image  
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