Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson (Eyv)

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

1. Hákonarmál (Hák) - 21

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).

Hákonarmál (‘Words about Hákon’) — Eyv HákI

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál’ 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. 171.

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Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir: 1. Hákonarmál, 961 (AI, 64-8, BI, 57-60)

SkP info: I, 174

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Eyv Hák 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 1’ 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. 174.

Gǫndul ok Skǫgul         sendi Gautatýr
        at kjósa of konunga,
hverr Yngva ættar
        skyldi með Óðni fara
        ok í Valhǫll vesa.

{Gautatýr} sendi Gǫndul ok Skǫgul at kjósa of konunga, hverr ættar Yngva skyldi fara með Óðni ok vesa í Valhǫll.

{The god of the Gautar} [= Óðinn] sent Gǫndul and Skǫgul to choose among kings, which of the kin of Yngvi should go with Óðinn and live in Valhǫll.

Mss: (105r-v), F(18va), J1ˣ(63v), J2ˣ(60r) (Hkr); FskBˣ(9v), FskAˣ(49) (Fsk); R(20v), Tˣ(21r), W(45), U(26r), B(4r) (SnE); 761bˣ(95v)

Readings: [1] Skǫgul: ‘skangvl’ J1ˣ    [2] sendi: sendir B    [4] hverr: ‘hvæir’ FskBˣ, hvarr U    [5] skyldi: ‘sk[...]lde’ B;    Óðni: Óðin J1ˣ    [6] ok: om. J1ˣ, J2ˣ, FskBˣ, FskAˣ, W;    ‑hǫll: hǫllu J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R, U;    vesa (‘vera’): so F, R, Tˣ, U, B, at vera Kˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, FskBˣ, FskAˣ, W, 761bˣ

Editions: Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 1. Hákonarmál 1: AI, 64, BI, 57, Skald I, 35; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 219, IV, 59, ÍF 26, 193, Hkr 1991, I, 124 (HákGóð ch. 31/32), F 1871, 84; Fsk 1902-3, 38-9 (ch. 11), ÍF 29, 86 (ch. 12); SnE 1848-87, I, 234-5, II, 303, 518, SnE 1931, 89, SnE 1998, I, 8; Möbius 1860, 232, Jón Helgason 1968, 25, Krause 1990, 36-9.

Context:

In Hkr, the poem is presented at the close of HákGóð after a description of Hákon’s obsequies. In Fsk, the prose that precedes the first three stanzas describes how before the battle of Fitjar the king donned his war-gear and drew up his forces. In SnE, Snorri quotes this stanza in a collection of stanzas illustrating references to Óðinn (mostly kennings).

Notes: [All]: Fsk introduces sts 1-3, sem Eyvindr segir í kvæði því, er hann orti eptir fall Hákonar, ok setti hann þat eptir því sem Gunnhildr hafði látit yrkja um Eirík sem Óðinn byði hónum heim til Valhallar, ok segir hann marga atburði í kvæðinu frá orrostunni, ok hefr svá ‘as Eyvindr says in the poem that he composed after Hákon’s fall, and he modelled it after the one that Gunnhildr had had composed about Eiríkr, as if Óðinn were inviting him home to Valhǫll, and in the poem he narrates many events from the battle, and it begins thus’. — [1] Gǫndul ok Skǫgul ‘Gǫndul and Skǫgul’: These are two of the valkyrjur (etymologically ‘choosers of the slain’), female beings associated with Óðinn who, as here, determine the outcome of battles, selecting warriors slain in battle for Valhǫll, the hall of the slain. The valkyries’ warrior equipment is described in st. 12. Gǫndul and Skǫgul (Geir-Skǫgul in st. 12/2) are named in Vsp 30, and Skǫgul is among thirteen valkyries named in Grí 36. On valkyries in Scandinavian mythology, see further Ström (1954, 70-9); Andersen (1993); Simek (1993, 349); Zimmermann (2007); Quinn (forthcoming). — [2] sendi ‘sent’: The verb is apparently unstressed. Here and at several other places in the poem (e.g. sts 12/1, 21/5) it is evident that neither málaháttr nor ljóðaháttr conforms to the Satzpartikelgesetz ‘law of sentence particles’ (Kuhn 1933, 8, 38-49), which dictates that finite verbs and other words that are neither clitics nor stress-words receive full stress unless they appear in the first upbeat of the sentence or clause. — [2] Gautatýr ‘the god of the Gautar [= Óðinn]’: The Gautar were the inhabitants of Götaland, the Gēatas of the Old English Beowulf, though the term may be simply a heiti for humans in general (so de Vries 1934a, 37-8). Ninck (1935, 309) interprets it as referring to men as engenderers (connecting the word with ModGer. giessen ‘to pour’), and Meissner (Meissner 252) believes that such kennings originally referred to the ethnic group and its connection with Óðinn, but later became associated with the gods. Kuhn (1954, supported by Krause 1990, 32-3) argues that the word refers to sacrificial victims consecrated to the gods. The identity of týr in this and similar expressions for Óðinn is also uncertain. Snorri Sturluson (SnE 1998, I, 5) understands týr in compounds such as Sigtýr, Hangatýr and Farmatýr as the name of the god Týr, commenting that the name of one of the Æsir can be joined by an attribute or deed of a second god in order to refer to that second god, i.e. a god-name can be the base-word in a kenning for a different god. Accordingly, various eds and LP: týr 2 assume the god’s name and print the capitalised form Týr. However, a common noun meaning ‘god’, with sg. form týr corresponding to the well-attested pl. tívar ‘gods’, is also possible and may be indicated by the fact that týr alternates with goð ‘god’ in some Óðinn-names (as noted in Meissner 252). Several eds assume the common noun in the present instance of Gautatýr, including ÍF 26 and Hkr 1991, and the present edn assumes it in the group as a whole (so also Faulkes, SnE 1998, II, 514).  — [4] ættar Yngva ‘of the kin of Yngvi’: Yngvi is the eponymous progenitor of the Swedish Yngling dynasty at Uppsala and hence of the Norwegian branch of the dynasty (see Introduction to Þjóð Yt, and Heusler 1908, 143-5 on the Yngling genealogy). He has been identified with the god Freyr, partly because Yngvi-Freyr is a name for Freyr (e.g. LP: Yngvi 1, Yngvifreyr), but this identification is by no means certain. It is also uncertain whether ætt Yngva has specific genealogical reference. Yngvi is plainly a generic ruler-heiti in some contexts (see SnE 1998, I, 104-5 for Yngvi and Ynglingr, and LP: Yngvi 2), and some scholars (Baetke 1964, 111-12; Koht 1955, 23-4) see most references to ‘Yngvi’s kin’ and such as generalized kennings for rulers. The use of ætt ‘kin’ does not help to disambiguate the reference of Yngvi/yngvi here since it occurs both with gen. pl. nouns meaning ‘of men, rulers’ etc. and with personal names in the gen. sg. (see LP: ætt). The same problem arises with ungum ynglingi ‘young king’, used of Haraldr hárfagri in Þhorn Harkv 4/7; see Note.

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