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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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 30 June 2022)

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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, 91

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Eil Þdr 8III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Eilífr Goðrúnarson, Þórsdrápa 8’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 91.

Harðvaxnar leit herðar
hallands of sik falla
(gatat maðr) njótr (in neytri)
njarð- (rôð fyr sér) -gjarðar.
Þverrir lét, nema þyrri
Þorns barna sér, Mǫrnar
snerriblóð, til svíra
salþaks megin vaxa.


{The user of the strength-belt} [= Þórr] saw {the hard-grown shoulders {of the sloping-land}} [MOUNTAIN > ROCKS] fall around him; the man could not find a useful solution for himself. {The diminisher {of the children of Þorn}} [GIANTS > = Þórr] said that his strength would grow to the neck {of the roof of the earth} [SKY] unless {the rushing blood of Mǫrn} [RIVER] receded.

context: See Context to st. 1.

notes: [5-8]: There are two ways to interpret these lines. (a) Þverrir barna Þorns lét megin vaxa sér til svíra salþaks, nema snerriblóð Mǫrnar þyrri ‘The diminisher of the children of Þorn <giant> [GIANTS > = Þórr] said that his strength would grow to the neck of the roof of the earth [SKY] unless the rushing blood of Mǫrn <female mythical being> [RIVER] receded’. The advantages of this interpretation, which is adopted in the present edn, are that it is largely faithful to the word order of the stanza and contains no metrical violations. The river-kenning snerriblóð Mǫrnar, however, still presents a problem (see Note below). (b) Þverrir barna Mǫrnar lét megin vaxa sér til salþaks, nema snerriblóð Þorns svíra þyrri ‘the diminisher of the children of Mǫrn <female mythical being> [GIANTS > = Þórr] said that his strength would grow to the roof of the earth [SKY] unless the rushing blood of the neck of Þorn <giant> [RIVER] receded’ (so Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 385; Skj B). The indubitable advantage of the latter interpretation is that the river-kenning snerriblóð Þorns matches the widespread kenning pattern ‘blood of the giant’. However, there are two reasons to discard it. First of all, svíra ‘of the neck’ is not a necessary part of the river-kenning and placing it in that kenning forces a three-part l. 7, isolating the prep. til. Further, the way l. 6 is split up violates the metre, which requires the sentence boundary to fall before Mǫrnar. — [5-8]: The content of this helmingr is corroborated by an eddic stanza which Snorri (SnE 1998, I, 25) quotes in his narrative of the myth. According to that stanza, Þórr addresses the river directly: Vaxattu nú, Vimurveiztu ef þú vex at þá vex mér ásmegin jafnhátt upp sem himinn ‘Do not grow now, Vimur … you know that if you grow, then the power of an Áss will rise up in me just as high as the sky’. The river-name Vimur is confirmed by a Þórr-kenning in ÚlfrU Húsdr 6/5-6, Víðgymnir vaðs Vimrar ‘the Víðgymnir <giant> of the ford of Vimur <river>’ (cf. additional examples in LP: Vimur.)

texts: Skm 80, SnE 82

editions: Skj Eilífr Goðrúnarson: 2. Þórsdrápa 7 (AI, 149; BI, 141); Skald I, 77, NN §§449, 450; SnE 1848-87, I, 294-5, III, 29-30, SnE 1931, 108, SnE 1998, I, 27.


GKS 2367 4° (R) 24v, 32 - 24v, 35 (SnE)  image  image  image  
Traj 1374x (Tx) 25v, 10 - 25v, 12 (SnE)  image  
AM 242 fol (W) 53, 10 - 53, 12 (SnE)  image  image  image  
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