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Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson (Eyv)

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

1. Hákonarmál (Hák) - 21

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.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21 

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

SkP info: I, 183

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Eyv Hák 8I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 8’ 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. 183.

Blendusk við roðnar
und randar himni;
Skǫglar veðr léku
við ský* of bauga.
Umðu oddláar
í Óðins veðri;
hné mart manna
fyr mækis straumi.


Red colours mingled beneath {the sky of the shield-rim}; [SHIELD] {the storms of Skǫgul} [BATTLE] played against {the clouds of shield-rings}. [SHIELDS] {Point-waves} [BLOOD] roared in {the storm of Óðinn}; [BATTLE] many people sank down before {the tide of the sword}. [BLOOD]

context: As for st. 1.

notes: J1ˣ and J2ˣ cite only the first word of this stanza; F omits it altogether.  — [1-2]: The lines, and particularly the form roðnar, are problematic. (a) Roðnar is here taken as a noun: an archaic pl. to *roði, a nomen agentis to rjóða ‘redden’ (Noreen 1921, 55), or possibly the pl. of a word roði, roðmi or roðni meaning ‘red sheen’ (so NN §1054). The image could be of the red of the men’s blood and of the shields blending with each other (so Lindquist 1929, 14-15), or of a red effect in the sky, as in en er orrostan tokzst þa laust roda a himininn ok a solina ‘and when the battle began, a red colour appeared in the sky and against the sun’ (Flat 1860-8, II, 354, describing the battle of Stiklastaðir (Stiklestad, 1030)). Construed thus, ll. 2 and 4 are elegantly patterned, with a prep. and similar shield-kenning occupying each one. (b) Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901 and Skj B emends to p. p. roðnum ‘reddened’, taken to qualify himni ‘sky’ with veðr ‘storms, winds’ as the subject of both blendusk ‘had dealings’ and léku ‘played’. (c) CPB I, 266 emends við roðnar to vígroðar ‘halos of war’, which Sahlgren (1927-8, I, 156) approves, though he would give the form as vígroðnar. (d) Wimmer (1903, 129) would emend randar to randa. (e) Sahlgren (1927-8, I, 65-8) would reverse the position of randar with that of bauga in l. 4, on the basis of comparison to the alliteration in st. 9/1-2.

texts: HákGóð 29, Hkr 98

editions: Skj Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir: 1. Hákonarmál 8 (AI, 66; BI, 58);

Skald I, 36, NN §§1054, 1903A, 3097B; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 220, IV, 59-60, ÍF 26, 194, Hkr 1991, I, 126 (HákGóð ch. 31/32); Möbius 1860, 233, Jón Helgason 1968, 26, Krause 1990, 80-3.


AM 35 folx (Kx) 105v, 19 - 105v, 26 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  image  
AM 37 folx (J1x) 63v, 19 - 63v, 19 [1-1] (Hkr)  transcr.  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 60r, 20 - 60r, 20 [1-1] (Hkr)  transcr.  image  
AM 761 b 4°x (761bx) 97v, 18 - 98v, 6 (Hák)  transcr.  image  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated