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, 190

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

16 — Eyv Hák 16I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 16’ 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. 190.

‘Einherja grið         skalt þú allra hafa;
        þigg þú at Ôsum ǫl.
Jarla bági,
        þú átt inni hér
        átta brœðr,’ kvað Bragi.

‘Þú skalt hafa grið allra einherja; þigg þú ǫl at Ôsum. {Bági jarla}, þú átt hér inni átta brœðr,’ kvað Bragi.

‘You shall have quarter from all the einherjar; take ale among the Æsir. {Adversary of jarls} [RULER = Hákon], you have eight brothers in this place,’ said Bragi.

Mss: (106v), F(18va), J1ˣ(64r), J2ˣ(61r) (Hkr); FskAˣ(58), 52ˣ(23r), 301ˣ(20v) (Fsk, ll. 4-6); 761bˣ(100v)

Readings: [1] Einherja: en hverja J1ˣ    [4] bági: bægi 52ˣ

Editions: Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 1. Hákonarmál 16: AI, 67, BI, 59, Skald I, 36-7; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 221, IV, 60, ÍF 26, 196, Hkr 1991, I, 128 (HákGóð ch. 31/32), F 1871, 84; Fsk 1902-3, 49 (ch. 12), ÍF 29, 95 (ch. 13); Möbius 1860, 234, Jón Helgason 1968, 28, Krause 1990, 114-20.

Context: In Hkr, as for st. 1. In Fsk, the prose preceding ll. 4-6 records that eight sons of Haraldr hárfagri had been killed with weapons before Hákon fell. Fsk introduces the second helmingr, sem Eyvindr segir skáldaspillir ok kvað svá sem konungrinn kœmi til Valhallar, fyrir því at sá var átrúnaðr heiðinna manna, at allir þeir er af sárum ǫnduðusk skyldu fara til Valhallar ‘as Eyvindr skáldaspillir says, and composed thus, as if the king were coming to Valhǫll, because it was the belief of heathens that all those who died of wounds should go to Valhǫll’.

Notes: [1] einherja ‘the einherjar’: See Note to Anon Eirm 1/5. — [1] grið ‘quarter’: A truce or safe-conduct granted to warrriors in specific situations, as opposed to more general frið ‘peace’. On grið(r) and frið in OE and ON, see Fell (1982-3). — [6] átta brœðr ‘eight brothers’: On the eight brothers of Hákon, see Context above, and Krause (1990, 117). Bragi’s point is that Hákon has nothing to fear (see Olsen 1916a, 5-6), though cf. Note to st. 17 [All].

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