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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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 30 June 2022)

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, 210

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

11 — Eyv Hál 11I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 11’ 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. 210.

Þar varð minnstr
ǫndverðan dag
es flota þeystu
at eyðǫndum,
þás sverðalfr
sunnan kníði
lagar stóð
at liði þeira.

Þar varð minnstr fagnafundr {{Yngvi-Freys mein}vinnǫndum} ǫndverðan dag, es {jarðráðendr} þeystu flota at eyðǫndum, þás {sverðalfr} kníði {stóð lagar} sunnan at liði þeira.

There the least welcome meeting came about {for the workers {of the harm of Yngvi-Freyr <god>}} [(lit. ‘harm-workers of Yngvi-Freyr’) BATTLE > WARRIORS] at the break of day, as {the rulers of the land} [RULERS] impelled their fleet against the ravagers, when {the sword-elf} [WARRIOR] drove his {stud-horses of the sea} [SHIPS] from the south against their army.

Mss: (159r), 39(7va), F(26vb), J1ˣ(95v) (Hkr)

Readings: [1] varð: var 39, F, J1ˣ;    minnstr: ‘minnz’ J1ˣ    [3] ‑Freys: ‘‑freyrs’ F    [8] eyðǫndum: ‘eyrinndom’ 39, F, ‘eyðænndvm’ J1ˣ

Editions: Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 2. Háleygjatal 13-14: AI, 70, BI, 62, Skald I, 38, NN §3209; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 330, IV, 89, ÍF 26, 280-1, Hkr 1991, I, 188 (ÓTHkr ch. 40), F 1871, 122; Krause 1990, 192-7.

Context: Hákon jarl Sigurðarson brings his fleet from the south in haste to meet the Jómsvíkingar, under Sigvaldi jarl, and other opponents, prior to the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen).

Notes: [All]: On Hákon jarl Sigurðarson, the battle of Hjǫrungavágr c. 985, and other skaldic poetry associated with it, see ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume. — [All]: This is the sole surviving stanza from what may have been a more extended account (Finnur Jónsson 1910-12, 263). Lines 9-12 are printed as a separate stanza in Skj (but not Hkr 1893-1901), for reasons that are unclear. — [2-3] Yngvi-Freys meinvinnǫndum ‘for the workers of the harm of Yngvi-Freyr <god> [(lit. ‘harm-workers of Yngvi-Freyr’) BATTLE > WARRIORS]’: The warrior-kenning is unusual. Yngvi-Freyr is a name of Freyr (see LP: Yngvifreyr). The word mein ‘harm’ is associated with Freyr in both Lok 43/5 and Gylf (SnE 2005, 31), but its precise significance in this context remains uncertain. A battle-kenning seems most likely as the determinant qualifying vinnǫndum (dat. pl.) ‘workers’, and this is supported by leikr Freys ‘sport of Freyr [BATTLE]’, Þhorn Harkv 6/4 and Note. Although Freyr is not normally a battle-god but a deity presiding over peace and good crops (Gylf, SnE 2005, 24), war could be regarded as a source of harm to him (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; LP: meinvinnandi; cf. ÍF 26). The warriors denoted by the kenning can be identified with the Jómsvíkingar and other adversaries of Hákon jarl and his son, Eiríkr. — [7, 8] jarðráðendr … eyðǫndum ‘the rulers of the land … the ravagers’: The wording here presents difficulties. (a) In this edn the reading of and J1ˣ is retained. Normally in skaldic usage the agentive eyðǫndum ‘ravagers’ would be associated with an object, expressed via an objective gen. or prefixed flexionless noun, but it may be that jarð- ‘land’ in the previous line has a dual role, also providing such an object in a kind of apo koinou (cf. NN §3209; ÍF 26). (b) Against this, Sveinbjörn Egilsson’s emendation Eydǫnum (LP: eyða; cf. Jón Þorkelsson 1884, 55; Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B) is supported by œgir Eydana ‘intimidator of the Island-Danes’, denoting Hákon jarl, in Eyv Hák 3/7. Although Eydanir normally refers to the Danes (LP: ey-Danir), it is possible that the Jómsvíkingar could be thought of as ‘Island-Danes’, especially if, as Finnur Jónsson suggested, they had affiliations with Bornholm (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; but contrast NN §3209). — [9] sverðalfr ‘the sword-elf [WARRIOR]’: Normally taken to be Hákon jarl, following Hkr (see Context), but Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) suggests Sigvaldi jarl, leader of the Jómsvíkingar. — [11] stóð ‘stud-horses’: The word is grammatically sg., with the collective meaning ‘stud, stud-horses’.

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