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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, ‘(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, 205

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

7 — Eyv Hál 7I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 7’ 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. 205.

Varð Hôkun
Hǫgna meyjar
viðr vápnberr,
es vega skyldi,
ok sinn aldr
í odda gný
Freys ôttungr
á Fjǫlum lagði.

Hôkun, {viðr {meyjar Hǫgna}}, varð vápnberr, es skyldi vega, ok {ôttungr Freys} lagði aldr sinn í {gný odda} á Fjǫlum.

Hákon, {tree {of the maiden of Hǫgni <legendary hero>}} [= Hildr (hildr ‘battle’) > WARRIOR], became weapon-bare when he had to fight, and {the kinsman of Freyr <god>} [= Hákon] laid down his life in {the din of points} [BATTLE] at Fjaler.

Mss: (57v), F(10ra), J1ˣ(31v), J2ˣ(32v-33r) (Hkr); FskBˣ(5r), FskAˣ(14) (Fsk)

Readings: [3] ‑berr: ‘bær’ FskBˣ    [5] sinn: síðan FskBˣ;    aldr: aldri FskBˣ    [6] í: om. FskBˣ    [7] ôttungr: ‘attughr’ FskAˣ    [8] á: at F

Editions: Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 2. Háleygjatal 9: AI, 69, BI, 61, Skald I, 38; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 115, IV, 31-2, ÍF 26, 108, Hkr 1991, I, 66 (HHárf ch. 12), F 1871, 45; Fsk 1902-3, 14 (ch. 2), ÍF 29, 66 (ch. 3); Krause 1990, 170-4.

Context: Stanzas 7 and 8 are cited in uninterrupted succession. Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ places the district of Firðir (Fjordane) under the control of Hákon jarl Grjótgarðsson but when Hákon orders Atli jarl to release his control of Sogn Atli disputes this. He and Hákon join battle at Fjalir in Stafanessvágr (Fjaler, Stongfjorden), where Hákon is defeated and killed and Atli subsequently dies of his wounds.

Notes: [1-4]: Normally the warrior-kenning in ll. 2-3 is construed as in apposition to Hôkun, as in this edn. Apposition occurs sporadically elsewhere in Hál (see st. 13/1, 3). An alternative, with Hkr 1893-1901, IV, would be to take the kenning as subject of the rel. clause: Hôkon varð vápnberr, es viðr meyjar Hǫgna skyldi vega ‘Hákon became weapon-bare when the tree of Hǫgni’s maiden [Hákon, he] had to fight’. — [2] meyjar Hǫgna ‘of the maiden of Hǫgni <legendary hero> [= Hildr (hildr “battle”)]’: An allusion to Hildr, who instigates the Hjaðningavíg ‘fight of the people of Heðinn’, conventionally referred to in scholarship as the ‘Everlasting Fight’; for the Hildr story see especially Bragi Rdr 8-12III. Hildr also occurs as a generalised name for valkyrie and, as here by ofljóst, a heiti for ‘battle’. — [3] vápnberr ‘weapon-bare’: Presumably this means ‘bare of, i.e. lacking, a weapon’, though an alternative might be ‘bare/exposed before the weapons [of his enemies]’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; LP: vápnberr; ÍF 26; ÍF 29; Hkr 1991). Finnur Jónsson interprets this as våbnbidt ‘weapon-bitten’ in Skj B, but without justification. The cpd is a hap. leg., which together with the reference to Freyr in l. 7 makes it conceivable that there is an allusion to Freyr’s lacking his sword in the fight against Beli (cf. Note to st. 3/3) and at Ragnarǫk, caused by his lending it to Skírnir to assist in the wooing of Gerðr (SnE 2005, 31-2; Simek 1993, 91). Hákon’s lack of a weapon is not explained in the stanza or the prose. — [7] ôttungr Freys ‘the kinsman of Freyr <god> [= Hákon]’: Hákon jarl Grjótgarðsson (see Context above). The identical phrase appears in Þjóð Yt 16/7. A close analogue is ôttung(r) Týs ‘kinsman of Týr’ in st. 10/7, with its counterpart in Þjóð Yt 14/3. Such kennings occur only in these two poems and in Eskál Vell. Similarly restricted in distribution is the theme of the divine ancestry of kings and jarls (Marold 1992, 699; cf. Bagge 2000, 33-6 on ). Presumably the kennings do not imply direct descent from Freyr or Týr (since Óðinn appears as progenitor in st. 1), but they do form part of a programme of implicit comparison with the Yngling kings (see Introduction). It is conceivable that the specific reference to Freyr hints at movement towards the Yngling territory of south-eastern Norway, where toponymic evidence suggests that the cult of Freyr was particularly strong (Brink 2007a, 109). — [8] á Fjǫlum ‘at Fjaler’: Fjalir (Fjaler) is a fjord and the surrounding district, just north of Sognefjorden on the west coast of Norway.

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