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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 1 July 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, 203

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — Eyv Hál 5I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 5’ 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. 203.

Ok náreiðr
á nesi drúpir
þars víkr deilir.
Þars fjǫlkunnt
of fylkis hrør
steini merkt

Ok náreiðr vingameiðr drúpir á nesi, þars deilir víkr. Þars fjǫlkunnt Straumeyjarnes merkt steini of hrør fylkis.

And the corpse-bearing swaying tree droops on the headland, where it separates the bays. There the well-known Straumeyjarnes is marked by a stone over the ruler’s body.

Mss: (24r), F(4rb), J2ˣ(13r) (Hkr)

Readings: [4] víkr: viku J2ˣ    [5] ‑kunnt: ‑kunnr Kˣ, F, ‘‑kynt’ J2ˣ    [6] hrør: ‘hrǿ̨ðr’ F, ‘hreyr’ J2ˣ    [7] merkt: so J2ˣ, merktr Kˣ, F    [8] Straumeyjar‑: straum eyrar F, ‘streym æyrar’ J2ˣ

Editions: Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 2. Háleygjatal 7: AI, 69, BI, 61, NN §1787; Skald I, 38; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 42, IV, 13, ÍF 26, 44-5, Hkr 1991, I, 25 (Yng ch. 23), F 1871, 16; Krause 1990, 164-6.

Context: See st. 4.

Notes: [1] náreiðr ‘corpse-bearing’: A hap. leg., cf. reiða ‘to carry, brandish’. — [3] vingameiðr ‘swaying tree’: This is probably not to be interpreted as a kenning for ‘gallows’ but as referring to the use of a living tree as a gallows, as in the story of Víkarr in Gautreks saga (Gautr 1954, 30-1). Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) prefers to explain the first element as vindga- ‘windy’, with reference to Hávm 138/2 (ec hecc vindgameiði á ‘I hung on the windy tree’, NK 40). — [4] deilir ‘it separates’: The usage is impersonal, but it is clearly the headland that separates the bays (ÍF 26). — [5-8]: Here Straumeyjarnes (l. 8) is taken as the subject of [e]s ‘is’ (l. 5) and merkt steini ‘marked by a stone’ (l. 7) as its complement, with fjǫlkunnt ‘well-known’ (l. 5) as an adj. qualifying Straumeyjarnes, but other construals are possible. The prose order in Skj B gives ‘There Straumeyjarnes, well-known because of the ruler’s grave, is marked with a stone’, which Kock (NN §1787) rejects, preferring a construal that gives ‘There is [stands] the well-known Straumeyjarnes, marked with a stone over the ruler’s grave’ (so also Hkr 1991). ÍF 26 takes fjǫlkunnt as the complement. — [5] fjǫlkunnt ‘well-known’: Or ‘known to many’. A minor emendation is necessary. The notion is presumably that the burial mound is now a well-recognised navigational mark, like that of Beowulf (Beowulf ll. 3156-60); burial mounds are often prominently placed on headlands and ridges along major communication routes (cf. Note to st. 8/5, 8). — [6] of ‘over’: In this edn it is assumed that ms. um, as frequently, represents the prep. (normalised) of, and that it refers to the position of the stone marker, i.e. over the burial. Finnur Jónsson reads of and explains it as af ‘on account of’, linked with fjǫlkun(n)t ‘well-known’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B). ÍF 26 reads um and also tentatively suggests sökum ‘on account of’. — [6] hrør ‘body’: This is the reading of the main ms., and the F reading may be a corruption of it. It is possible that the variant hreyr in J2ˣ represents an older form of a word for ‘burial place, cairn’; cf. Þjóð Yt 6/2 and Note. — [7] steini ‘by a stone’: The sg. may imply a single bautasteinn ‘memorial stone’ (cf. ÍF 26; Davidson 1983, 111-12; Hkr 1991). Alternatively steinn could be used in a collective sense to indicate a stone-built burial mound: so Hkr 1893-1901, IV, presumably to reconcile the verse with Hkr’s account of a burial mound (haug, Context to st. 4). — [8] Straumeyjarnes: The variant -eyrar- ‘spit of land’ found in J2ˣ and F in this stanza and the preceding prose is also possible. The p. n. Straumeyjarnes (in either variant) is of a common type and the locality remains unidentified (ÍF 26). While it is possible that an island off the Norwegian coast is intended (there are several with the modern name Straumøya(n)), Hkr localises the action to the Danish coast (see Context to st. 4), with corroboration from Þjóð Yt 12/4 that Jǫrundr was active in the Limfjorden area.

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