Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

login: password: stay logged in: help

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, 204

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — Eyv Hál 6I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 6’ 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. 204.

Ok sá halr
at Hôars veðri
hǫsvan serk
Hrísgrísnis bar.

Ok sá halr bar {hǫsvan serk Hrísgrísnis} at {veðri Hôars}.

And that man wore {the grey shirt of Hrísgrísnir <wolf>} [WOLF-SKIN] in {the storm of Hôarr <= Óðinn>} [BATTLE].

Mss: R(33v), Tˣ(35r), W(77), U(32v), A(11r), C(5r) (SnE)

Readings: [1] halr: hallr U    [2] Hôars (‘hars’): ‘has’ U    [4] Hrísgrísnis: ‘hrísnis’ W, Hrungnis U, Hrímgrímnis A, Hergrímnis C

Editions: Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 2. Háleygjatal 8: AI, 69, BI, 61, Skald I, 38, NN §2744; SnE 1848-87, I, 418-19, II, 326, 437, 586, SnE 1931, 149, SnE 1998, I, 66; Krause 1990, 167-9.

Context: The stanza is cited in a section illustrating kennings referring to battle as the weather or storm of weapons.

Notes: [All]: The identity of the subject, sá halr ‘that man’, remains unknown, although, on the principle of paronomasia, Brynjólfr/Brynjolfus, lit. ‘mail-shirt + wolf’, would be a possible candidate; see Introduction for the genealogy of the Hlaðajarlar. — [3-4] hǫsvan serk Hrísgrísnis ‘the grey shirt of Hrísgrísnir <wolf> [WOLF-SKIN]’: This is one of the earliest references to berserkr practices. The two most familiar native terms are berserkr ‘bear/bare-shirted’ and ulfheðinn ‘wolf-skin’ (cf. Þhorn Harkv 8/5, 7 and Note); Eyvindr’s expression here, with its use of serk(r) and an allusion to a wolf, has elements of both. The correct form (-grísnir or ‑grisnir), etymology and meaning of the unique heiti Hrísgrísnir are unclear: for discussion see NN §2744; AEW: Hrísgrísnir. Faulkes (SnE 1998, II, 319) suggests ‘one who gnashes his teeth in the bushes’. The phrase may be regarded as a kenning, albeit a unique one, on the basis of its structure and the figurative use of serkr ‘shirt’.

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