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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;

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, 189

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

15 — Eyv Hák 15I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 15’ 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. 189.

Ræsir þat mælti         — vas frá rómu kominn,
        stóð allr í dreyra drifinn —:
‘illúðigr mjǫk
        þykkir oss Óðinn vesa;
        séumk vér hans of hugi.’

Ræsir mælti þat — vas kominn frá rómu, stóð allr drifinn í dreyra —: ‘Óðinn þykkir oss vesa mjǫk illúðigr; séumk vér of hugi hans.’

The ruler [Hákon] said that [this] — he had come from battle, stood all drenched in blood —: ‘Óðinn appears to us [me] to be very hostile; we [I] fear his intentions.’

Mss: (106v), F(18va), J1ˣ(64r), J2ˣ(60v-61r) (Hkr); 761bˣ(100v)

Readings: [3] allr: allir J1ˣ;    dreyra: so F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, ‘drøra’ Kˣ, 761bˣ    [4] mjǫk: om. F    [5] þykkir oss: oss þykkir F    [6] séumk vér: séum vér Kˣ, ‘sia var’ F, ‘siam ver’ J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 761bˣ;    hans of: so F, um hans Kˣ, 761bˣ, of hans J1ˣ, J2ˣ

Editions: Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 1. Hákonarmál 15: AI, 67, BI, 59, Skald I, 36; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 221, IV, 60, ÍF 26, 196, Hkr 1991, I, 128 (HákGóð ch. 31/32), F 1871, 84; Möbius 1860, 234, Jón Helgason 1968, 27-8, Krause 1990, 111-13.

Context: As for st. 1. 

Notes: [3] allr drifinn í dreyra ‘all drenched in blood’: Noreen (1922b, 540-1) compares the phrase (allr í dreyra drifinn in text) with Grí 52/6 allan í dreyra drifinn (NK 68). — [6] séumk ‘fear’: (a) The emendation is adopted by several eds, but the reason for Hákon’s wariness in Óðinn’s hall is uncertain. It may be that he is still resentful about events at Fitjar, or specifically about his treatment by Óðinn, who engineers the deaths of his favoured heroes. Alternatively, Paasche (1916, 14) explains Hákon’s wariness in the context of the assertion of Anon Eirm 6 that his enemy Eiríkr was a more desirable guest to Óðinn than other kings. Others have attributed it to the Christian belief attributed to Hákon in Hkr and Fsk (Du Méril 1839, 160 n. 1; Finnur Jónsson 1904-5a, 60; Jón Helgason 1953, 120; Holm-Olsen 1961b; Frank 1984b, 570; Kreutzer 1999b, 89). Indeed, st. 18 can reasonably be perceived as a resolution to the issue of what it is that is troubling Hákon, if this is what sts 16 and 17 allude to. (b) The non-reflexive sjá(u)m (earlier (u)m) of most of the mss is retained with the sense ‘I am concerned about him’ in Hkr 1991 (cf. Möbius 1860; Jón Helgason 1968). Geijer (1816, 56) must have a similar reading in mind when he takes the line to mean ‘Let’s see how he turns out’, and cf. Cederström 1860, 23: Vi ser på hans sinnelag ‘We observe his disposition’.

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