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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, ‘ 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 21 September 2021)

 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, 202

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Eyv Hál 4I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 4’ 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. 202.

En Goðlaugr
grimman tamði
við ofrkapp
Sigars jó,
es synir Yngva
við meið riðu.

En Goðlaugr tamði {grimman jó Sigars} við ofrkapp austrkonunga, es synir Yngva riðu {menglǫtuð} við meið.

But Guðlaugr tamed {the savage horse of Sigarr <legendary king>} [GALLOWS], because of the belligerence of the eastern kings, when the sons of Yngvi fastened {the ring-destroyer} [GENEROUS MAN] to the tree.

Mss: (24r), F(4rb), J2ˣ(13r) (Hkr)

Readings: [3] við: viðr J2ˣ    [5] Sigars: sigrs F;    jó: hjó J2ˣ    [6] es (‘er’): enn F, J2ˣ    [8] riðu: so F, J2ˣ, ‘reiðo’ Kˣ

Editions: Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 2. Háleygjatal 6: AI, 69, BI, 61, Skald I, 37-8; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 42, IV, 12-13, ÍF 26, 44, Hkr 1991, I, 25 (Yng ch. 23), F 1871, 16; Krause 1990, 160-3.

Context: Stanzas 4 and 5 are cited without a break. Jǫrundr and Eiríkr, sons of Yngvi, meet Guðlaugr, king of Hálogaland, in Denmark, defeat him in a sea-battle and hang him at Straumeyjarnes, where his men build a burial mound. 

Notes: [All]: The death of Guðlaugr at the hands of Jǫrundr is alluded to in Þjóð Yt 12/7. — [3] ofrkapp ‘the belligerence’: Lit. ‘excessive competitiveness, aggression’.  — [4] austrkonunga ‘of the eastern kings’: The kings of Sweden. — [5] jó Sigars ‘the horse of Sigarr <legendary king> [GALLOWS]’: The kenning alludes to the hanging of Hagbarðr by Sigarr, whose daughter Hagbarðr is courting. The story is known best from Saxo Grammaticus (Saxo 2005, I, 7, 7, 1-17, pp. 464-77) but for its currency in skaldic poetry see KormǪ Lv 4V (Korm 4). The kenning has counterparts in Þjóð Yt 9/11-12 and Sigv ErfÓl 1/8. For the image of ‘riding the gallows’, see Þjóð Yt 9/10, 11-12. — [6] synir Yngva ‘the sons of Yngvi’: See Context. — [7] menglǫtuð ‘the ring-destroyer [GENEROUS MAN]’: Also used in Þjóð Yt 3/11. — [8] riðu ‘fastened’: In this edn the reading of J2ˣ and F is adopted and construed as 3rd pers. pl. pret. ind. from the verb ríða (< *vríða) ‘twist, knit, braid, tie’ (cf. CVC: ríða; LP: 2. ríða; AEW: ríða 2). Earlier eds (Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B; ÍF 26; Hkr 1991) based themselves on ’s ‘reiðo’, emending to reiddu ‘caused to ride’. This would link to an extended image formed by the words tamði ‘tamed’ and ‘horse’. However, the reading in the other mss makes sense without emendation, while that of may result from the comparative obscurity of ríða in the sense of ‘tie, twist’ etc. (there being only two other attestations in Old Norse poetry, LP: 2. ríða), and perhaps also from the influence of adjacent meið ‘tree’ (l. 8) and náreiðr ‘corpse-bearing’ (st. 5/1). Association by way of paronomasia with the more prevalent sense of ríða ‘ride’ would be very likely in such a context.

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