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, 186

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

12 — Eyv Hák 12I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 12’ 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. 186.

‘Hví þú svá gunni *         skiptir, Geir-Skǫgul,
        órum þó verðir gagns frá goðum?’
‘Vér því vǫldum *,
        es þú velli helt,
        en þínir fíandr flugu.’

‘Hví skiptir þú gunni * svá, Geir-Skǫgul, þó órum verðir gagns frá goðum?’ ‘Vér vǫldum því *, es þú helt velli, en fíandr þínir flugu.’

‘Why did you decide the battle thus, Spear-Skǫgul, though we were [I was] worthy of victory from the gods?’ ‘We brought it about that you held the field and your enemies fled.’

Mss: (106r), F(18va), J1ˣ(64r), J2ˣ(60v) (Hkr); 761bˣ(99v)

Readings: [1] *: kvað Hkun F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 761bˣ    [2] Geir‑: í gær J1ˣ, J2ˣ    [3] órum (‘vǫrum’): ‘vorrum’ F    [4] vǫldum *: vǫldum kvað Skǫgul all    [5] helt: ‘hellz’ Kˣ, F, 761bˣ, ‘hellzt’ J1ˣ, J2ˣ    [6] fíandr: fíandmenn F

Editions: Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 1. Hákonarmál 12: AI, 66, BI, 58-9, Skald I, 36; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 220, IV, 60, ÍF 26, 195, Hkr 1991, I, 127 (HákGóð ch. 31/32), F 1871, 84; Möbius 1860, 233, Jón Helgason 1968, 27, Krause 1990, 95-7.

Context: As for st. 1.

Notes: [All]: The speaker of ll. 1-3 is Hákon, that of ll. 4-6 Skǫgul. The speakers are identified in the mss, except that Hákon is not identified in , but the identifications are omitted from the Text here since they are extrametrical, as is also the case in Anon Eirm: see Introduction. However, other identifications in this poem are not extrametrical and thus must remain in the text: see Note to st. 10/1. Hákon’s question shows that he does not regard the battle as a victory (due to his death soon after). The valkyrie’s reply corrects him. — [5] helt ‘held’: The mss all point to refl. helzk ‘stayed’, adopted by a few eds (e.g. Lindquist 1929, 14), though it gives poor sense in the present context.

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