Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson (Eyv)

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

2. Háleygjatal (Hál) - 16

Skj info: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, Norsk skjald, 10. årh. (d. omkr. 990). (AI, 64-74, BI, 57-65).

Skj poems:
1. Hákonarmál
2. Háleygjatal
3. Lausavísur

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.

 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, 201

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Eyv Hál 3I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 3’ 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. 201.

Þás útrǫst
jarla bági
Belja dolgs
byggva vildi.

Þás {bági jarla} vildi byggva útrǫst {dolgs Belja}.

When {the adversary of jarls} [RULER] wished to settle the outlying tract {of the enemy of Beli <giant>} [= Freyr].

Mss: R(22r), Tˣ(22v), W(48), U(28r) (SnE)

Readings: [1] útrǫst: ‘at ro᷎str’ Tˣ, ‘vt ræstr’ W, ‘ofræstr’ U    [3] dolgs: dolgr U

Editions: Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 2. Háleygjatal 5: AI, 68, BI, 60, Skald I, 37; SnE 1848-87, I, 262-3, II, 311, SnE 1931, 98, SnE 1998, I, 18; Krause 1990, 156-9.

Context: The helmingr is cited to illustrate a Freyr-kenning (dolgr Belja ‘enemy of Beli’).

Notes: [All]: This stanza is accepted by scholars as belonging to Hál. Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) suggested that the bági jarla ‘adversary of jarls’ who is the subject of the stanza might be Goðgestr (Godgestus in Thormod Torfaeus’s list; see Introduction), but there is no evident connection between his story as told in Hkr (ÍF 26, 57) and the present stanza. — [1] útrǫst ‘the outlying tract’: This rare word (see CVC, Fritzner: útröst) is based on rǫst f., which normally refers to a distance of now uncertain length (e.g. Sigv Austv 3/1, pl. rastir). — [2-3]: As noted above, it is unknown who the bági ‘adversary’ is, and two possible syntactic construals are possible. (a) The interpretation adopted in this edn is that útrǫst Belja dolgs ‘the outlying tract of the enemy of Beli [= Freyr]’ belongs together, as the object of the sentence, leaving bági jarla ‘adversary of earls’ as the subject (cf. SnE 1998, I, 167). (b) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) points out the possibility of an alternative division into bági dolgs Belja ‘adversary of the enemy of Beli [= Freyr > = Surtr]’ (subject) and útrǫst jarla ‘outlying tract of the jarls’ (object), without reaching a definite decision, but this assumes a somewhat strained word order, and Surtr seems an altogether unlikely adversary for the jarls, given the focus in the rest of Hál on their enemies amongst human beings (mennskir menn). — [3] dolgs Belja ‘of the enemy of Beli <giant> [= Freyr]’: Freyr slew the giant Beli using an antler in the absence of his sword, at some time before his death at Ragnarǫk at the hands of Surtr (Gylf, SnE 2005, 31-2, 50; cf. Simek 1993, 33; see Note to st. 1/9 Surts).

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