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, 184

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

9 — Eyv Hák 9I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 9’ 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. 184.

Sôtu þá dǫglingar         með sverð of togin,
með skarða skjǫldu         ok skotnar brynjur.
Vasa sá herr         í hugum ok átti
        til Valhallar vega.

Þá sôtu dǫglingar með sverð of togin, með skarða skjǫldu ok skotnar brynjur. Sá herr vasa í hugum ok átti vega til Valhallar.

Then kings were sitting with swords drawn, with hacked shields and pierced mail-shirt. That army was not in good spirits and was on its way to Valhǫll.

Mss: (105v-106r), F(18va), J1ˣ(63v), J2ˣ(60r) (Hkr); 761bˣ(98v)

Readings: [2] sverð of (‘sverð um’): sverðum J1ˣ, J2ˣ    [4] skotnar: skornar F    [6] ok: so F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, ok corrected from er Kˣ, er 761bˣ

Editions: Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 1. Hákonarmál 9: AI, 66, BI, 58, Skald I, 36, NN §§1054 anm., 2425; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 220, IV, 60, ÍF 26, 194, Hkr 1991, I, 127 (HákGóð ch. 31/2), F 1871, 84; Möbius 1860, 233, Jón Helgason 1968, 27, Krause 1990, 84-6.

Context: As for st. 1.

Notes: [1] dǫglingar ‘kings’: In Skm (SnE 1998, I, 103), Snorri explains Daglingar or Dǫglingar as descendants of Dagr, a legendary king, but this is unlikely (LP: dǫglingr). Höfler (1952a, 33-7) argues that the word is to be connected with the personified Dagr ‘Day’ mentioned in Vafþr 25/2 (NK 49) and SnE 2005, 13. Sahlgren (1927-8, I, 89) proposes that the word describes the sons of Eiríkr rather than Hákon, but cf. Wolf (1969, 19). — [2] of togin ‘drawn’: Although it might appear strange for the kings to sit with their swords drawn (and Sahlgren 1927-8, I, 78 proposes emendation), Wolff (1952, 105) argues that the point is that the kings are so fierce that even in death they are prepared for battle. Of is the expletive particle. — [4] skotnar ‘pierced’: The reading skornar ‘cut’ of F, preferred in Skald, but not in Skj B, is also quite possible, but the agreement of and the J transcripts speaks for skotnar, especially as they represent different branches of the Hkr stemma. — [5-7]: Here the metre changes from málaháttr to ljóðaháttr. Emendations to put the entire stanza into ljóðaháttr were proposed by Ettmüller (1858, 26; 1861, 26).  — [6] ok ‘and’: Ok is likely to be original, as the reading of F and the J transcripts, from the two branches of the Hkr stemma. Kock (NN §1054) suggests translating as ‘who’ and points out that has er (which is adopted by Nygaard 1875, 321 and Lindquist 1929, 14), but this is presumably a copyist’s interpretation.

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