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Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson (Eyv)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Russell Poole;

2. Háleygjatal (Hál) - 16

Eyvindr (Eyv, c. 915-990) has been called the last important Norwegian skald (Genzmer 1920, 159; also Boyer 1990a, 201). He is listed in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 256, 261, 265-6) among the poets of Hákon góði ‘the Good’ Haraldsson and Hákon jarl Sigurðarson. His maternal grandmother was a daughter of Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’, and he seems to have been close to Haraldr’s son Hákon góði from early on, serving at his court as one of a group of brilliant skalds. After Hákon’s death he resided at the court of Haraldr gráfeldr ‘Grey-cloak’, but relations with Haraldr seem to have soured quickly, as evidenced by his lausavísur. Eyvindr spent the last part of his life with the powerful Hákon jarl Sigurðarson of Hlaðir (Lade), whose family had supported Hákon góði against the sons of Eiríkr blóðøx ‘Blood-axe’. According to Hkr (ÍF 26, 221), in addition to Háleygjatal (Hál), Hákonarmál (Hák) and the lausavísur, Eyvindr composed a poem Íslendingadrápa, but this has not come down to us. The epithet skáldaspillir is usually interpreted to mean ‘Plagiarist’, literally ‘Destroyer (or Despoiler?) of Poets’ in reference to his habit of drawing inspiration from and alluding to earlier compositions, specifically Ynglingatal (Þjóð Yt) for Hál and Eiríksmál (Anon Eirm), along with several eddic poems, for Hák (see Introductions to Hál and Hák). The alternative interpretation ‘Poem-reciter’ proposed by Wadstein (1895a, 88) is unconvincing; see further Olsen (1962a, 28), and Beck (1994a). For further biographical information, see LH I, 447-9, Holm-Olsen (1953) and Marold (1993a).

Háleygjatal (‘Enumeration of the Háleygir (people of Hálogaland)’) — Eyv HálI

Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 195.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13 

for reference only:  1x   3x   11x 

Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir: 2. Háleygjatal, c. 985 (AI, 68-71, BI, 60-2); stanzas (if different): 2 | 3-4 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13-14 | 14 | 15 | 16

SkP info: I, 208

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

10 — Eyv Hál 10I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 10’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 208.

Ok ǫðlingr
í ǫlun Njarðar
alnar orms
ófælinn varð
lífs of lattr,
þars landrekar
Týs ôttung
í tryggð sviku.

Ok ófælinn ǫðlingr varð of lattr lífs í ǫlun {Njarðar {orms alnar}}, þars landrekar sviku {ôttung Týs} í tryggð.

And the unflinching prince was deprived of life at the ale-feast {of the Njǫrðr <god> {of the serpent of the forearm}} [ARM-RING > MAN], where rulers of the land deceived {the kinsman of Týr <god>} [= Sigurðr] in the truce.

Mss: (112r-v), 39(3vb), F(19va-b), J2ˣ(64v), J1ˣ(67v) (Hkr); Bb(9va), Flat(8vb) (ÓT); FskBˣ(14v-15r), FskAˣ(64) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] ǫðlingr: ǫðlingi J2ˣ, ‘oðlingu’ J1ˣ    [2] í ǫlun: ǫlun J1ˣ, jólum Flat;    Njarðar: jarðar Kˣ, 39, F, J1ˣ, Flat, FskBˣ, FskAˣ, var Bb    [4] ófælinn: of alinn Flat;    varð: var J1ˣ, Bb, Flat    [5] lífs: so all others, líf Kˣ;    of (‘um’): af Flat;    lattr: látr J1ˣ, ‘late’ FskBˣ, ‘later’ FskAˣ    [6] þars (‘þar er’): om. Flat, þá er FskBˣ, FskAˣ;    landrekar: lofðungar J1ˣ    [7] Týs: tyrs Bb, Flat;    ôttung: so 39, F, J2ˣ, J1ˣ, Bb, FskAˣ, ‘attung i’ Kˣ, ‘att(nin)g’(?) Flat, ‘otrung’ FskBˣ    [8] tryggð: trygg J1ˣ;    sviku: svíkja Bb

Editions: Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 2. Háleygjatal 12: AI, 70, BI, 61-2, Skald I, 38, NN §§1056, 2987A; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 236, IV, 66, ÍF 26, 208, Hkr 1991, I, 138 (HGráf ch. 6), F 1871, 89; ÓT 1958-2000, I, 54 n. (ch. 34), Flat 1860-8, I, 64; Fsk 1902-3, 56 (ch. 13), ÍF 29, 101 (ch. 14); Krause 1990, 187-91.

Context: As for st. 9 in Hkr, ÓT, Fsk.

Notes: [2] ǫlun ‘ale-feast’: This obscure word has caused difficulty in interpretation. (a) It is construed in this edn as dat. case of an otherwise unattested fem. noun *ǫlun ‘ale-drinking’, to be explained as a deverbative of a common type from *ǫlva ‘to ply with ale’ (Poole 2007b, 170-3). The inf. is not recorded but may be inferred from ǫlvaðr ‘drunk, inebriated’, and the 3rd pers. pres. indic. ǫlvir seems to be attested in Egill Lv 6/1V (Eg 10). A ModIcel. morphological counterpart is ölvun ‘intoxication, drunkenness’, where -v- reflects analogical reformation from the verb. For ale ceremonies or rituals, see ARG I, 425; Brink (1999a, 13) and cf. the account in Egils saga (ÍF 2, 108). The reading of Flat, jólum ‘at Yuletide’, refers to a kindred type of occasion. (b) Some previous eds (Kock NN §1056; ÍF 26; ÍF 29) construe ǫlun as acc. from ǫlunn m., the name of a fish, usually identified as ‘mackerel’, and retain ms. jarðar, also in l. 2. The kenning ǫlun jarðar ‘fish of the earth [SNAKE]’ is equated with the heiti linnr, which normally means ‘snake’ but also occurs as a heiti for ‘fire’ in Þul Elds 2/2III. Thus, by ofljóst, ǫlun jarðar would signify ‘fire’. This interpretation fits well with the mention of fire in the prose sources, but an ofljóst that hinges on linnr in the sense ‘fire’, unattested outside the þulur, is implausible; the acc. case, rather than the expected dat. (ǫlni) following í ‘in, at’, remains a problem (ÍF 26; ÍF 29); and this solution entails double alliteration (see Note to ll. 2-3). (c) Ǫlun f. is a variant form of ǫln, alin ‘forearm’, but would be difficult to accommodate in the stanza. (d) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) regarded the crux as insoluble. — [2-3] Njarðar orms alnar ‘of the Njǫrðr <god> of the serpent of the forearm [ARM-RING > MAN]’: (a) Previous eds retain ms. jarðar ‘of the earth’, the reading of all mss, and interpret it as part of an ofljóst expression for ‘fire’ (see Note to l. 2), while taking ǫðlingr orms alnar ‘prince of the serpent of the forearm [ARM-RING > GENEROUS MAN]’ together. However, ǫðlingr ‘prince’ normally stands alone rather than functioning as the base-word of a kenning. An alternative would be to read Jarðar orms alnar ‘of the Jǫrð <goddess> of the serpent of the forearm [ARM-RING > WOMAN]’. However, in either case retaining jarðar entails double alliteration in an even line, which is conventionally proscribed and scarcely to be paralleled in poetry before the late C12th (Poole 2007b, 173). (c) In this edn jarðar is therefore emended to Njarðar. Reduction of final -n in ǫlun and initial N- in Njarðar to single -n- could easily have arisen in transmission. The name Njǫrðr appears to have been especially prone to corruption by scribes; cf. Eyv Lv 2/1, where , F, and other mss have the erroneous norðr. The identity of the person referred to by the kenning remains unclear, but he might be the local magnate responsible for the feast (veizla). The arm-ring is perhaps mentioned pointedly, since such rings are associated not merely with personal affluence but also with ceremonies where pledges and oaths are taken (Olsen 1966, 48-9). — [5] of lattr lífs ‘deprived of life’: Cf. Þjóð Yt 12/3. — [6] landrekar ‘rulers of the land’: The Eiríkssynir or Gunnhildarsynir, sons of Eiríkr blóðøx and Queen Gunnhildr, to whom Hákon jarl owed tribute. — [7] ôttungr Týs ‘the kinsman of Týr <god> [= Sigurðr]’: The kenning echoes Þjóð Yt 14/3; and cf. Note to st. 7/7 above. — [8] sviku ... í tryggð ‘deceived ... in the truce’: For a linkage between the drinking of ale and the gaining of safe-conduct, a truce or sanctuary, cf. Eyv Hák 16.

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