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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, 177

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Eyv Hák 3I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 3’ 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. 177.

Hét á Háleygi         sems á Holmrygi
jarla einbani;         fór til orrostu.
Gótt hafði inn gjǫfli         gengi Norðmanna
œgir Eydana;         stóð und árhjalmi.

{Einbani jarla} hét á Háleygi sems á Holmrygi; fór til orrostu. {Inn gjǫfli œgir Eydana} hafði gótt gengi Norðmanna; stóð und árhjalmi.

{The sole slayer of jarls} [= Hákon] called on the Háleygir just as on the Hólmrygir; he went into battle. {The munificent terrifier of Island-Danes} [= Hákon] had the good support of the Norwegians; he stood under a helmet of metal.

Mss: (102r), Kˣ(105v) (l. 1), F(18ra), F(18va) (l. 1), J1ˣ(62r), J1ˣ(63v) (l. 1), J2ˣ(58r), J2ˣ(60r) (l. 1) (Hkr); FskBˣ(9v-10r), FskAˣ(50) (Fsk); 761bˣ(95v-96r)

Readings: [1] Háleygi: Holmrygi J1ˣ(62r), Háleygi corrected from ‘Holmrygi’ J2ˣ(58r)    [2] sems: sem F, FskBˣ, FskAˣ, sá er J1ˣ(62r), J2ˣ(58r);    á Holmrygi: her kallar J1ˣ(62r), J2ˣ(58r)    [3] ‑bani: ‑dani F    [4] fór: ‘forr’ FskBˣ    [5] gjǫfli: so F, J1ˣ(62r), J2ˣ(58r), FskAˣ, gǫfgi Kˣ(102r), FskBˣ, 761bˣ    [7] œgir: so F, J1ˣ(62r), J2ˣ(58r), FskBˣ, FskAˣ, eyðir Kˣ(102r), 761bˣ;    Eydana: eyðanna FskAˣ    [8] ár‑: goll‑ F, háum FskBˣ

Editions: Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 1. Hákonarmál 3: AI, 64, BI, 57, Skald I, 35; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 212, 219, IV, 54-5, ÍF 26, 186, 193, Hkr 1991, I, 119, 125 (HákGóð chs 30, 32), F 1871, 81; Fsk 1902-3, 39 (ch. 11), ÍF 29, 87 (ch. 12); Möbius 1860, 232-3, Jón Helgason 1968, 25, Krause 1990, 49-53.

Context: See st. 1.

Notes: [1-2]: The reading of J1ˣ, with J2ˣ in partial agreement, gives Hét á Holmrygi sá er her kallar ‘He who summons an army called on the Hólmrygir’, and it is adopted by Ettmüller (1858, 26; 1861, 26) and Cederström (1860, 7), but it is unlikely to be authorial, given the agreement of the other mss. — [2] sems ‘just as’: The conj. sem and relative particle es; see LP: sems. Although only found in , this is retained here since it is the reading of the main ms. and the lectio difficilior (so also Skj B). — [2] Holmrygi ‘the Hólmrygir’: The people of the islands off Rogaland; see Þhorn Harkv 14/1 and Note. — [3] einbani ‘the sole slayer’: Judging from LP: einbani, this is the only skaldic record of the word. The two eddic instances refer to Óðinn and Þórr.  — [5] gjǫfli ‘munificent’: As the agreement of the J transcripts and F, representing both sides of the Hkr stemma, gjǫfli is preferred here, as by most of the early eds. However, gǫfgi ‘noble’ seems more appropriate to the context (so Krause 1990, 51) and is preferred by most recent eds. — [8] ár- ‘of metal’: Also ‘ore, copper, bronze’. This is probably a borrowing of OE ār ‘ore, brass, copper’ (so Noreen 1921, 54; cf. Wimmer 1877, 168; Holthausen 1896, 141). Moberg (1997) argues that árhjalmr designates a helmet with a conical top, assuming an OWN *ár ‘point, top, peak’. In regard to the variation between árhjalmi in this stanza and gollhjalmi ‘golden helmet’ in the next, Olsen (1962a, 6) would explain this as a matter of perspective: like the valkyries, he says, at one instant we see the helmet from above and at the next shining from a distance. The first element was earlier interpreted as ar- (an idea treaceable to Hkr 1697, I, 164), in reference to eagle images (so Sahlgren 1927-8, I, 62; also ÍF 26), or related to árr ‘early’ (so Du Méril 1839, 158); see also Lie (1948, 203).

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