Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson (Eyv)

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

3. Lausavísur (Lv) - 14

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).

Lausavísur — Eyv LvI

Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur’ 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. 213.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14 

Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir: 3. Lausavísur (AI, 71-4, BI, 62-5)

SkP info: I, 233

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

13 — Eyv Lv 13I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur 13’ 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. 233.

Lôtum langra nóta
lǫgsóta verfótum
at spáþernum sporna
sporðfjǫðruðum norðan,
vita, ef akrmurur jǫkla,
ǫl-Gerðr, falar verði,
ítr, þærs upp of róta
unnsvín, vinum mínum.

Lôtum {lǫgsóta} sporna {verfótum} norðan at {sporðfjǫðruðum spáþernum langra nóta}, vita, ef {{jǫkla akr}murur}, þærs {unnsvín} of róta upp, verði falar vinum mínum, {ítr ǫl-Gerðr}.

Let us make {the ocean-steed} [SHIP] pace {with sea-feet} [OARS] from the north to {the tailfin-feathered prophesying terns of the long nets} [HERRINGS], to see if {the silverweeds {of the field of ice-floes}} [(lit. ‘field-silverweeds of ice-floes’) SEA > HERRINGS] that {the wave-swine} [SHIPS] root up will prove marketable for my friends, {splendid ale-Gerðr <goddess>} [WOMAN].

Mss: (119v), F(21ra), J1ˣ(72v), J2ˣ(69r-v) (Hkr)

Readings: [2] ver‑: nær F    [3] ‑þernum: þornum F    [4] sporðfjǫðruðum: so F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, sporð ok fjǫðruðum Kˣ    [5] akrmurur: so F, J2ˣ, ‘akr mutur’ Kˣ, ‘akry(m)ror’(?) J1ˣ    [6] ǫl‑: eld‑ F, ǫls J1ˣ    [7] þærs (‘þær er’): þar er F, ‘þ̄r er’ J1ˣ;    of róta: hafa rótað F    [8] unn‑: und J1ˣ;    ‑svín: sinn F;    mínum: sínum J1ˣ

Editions: Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 3. Lausavísur 13: AI, 74, BI, 65, Skald I, 40, NN §3050; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 253-4, IV, 70-1, ÍF 26, 223, Hkr 1991, I, 148 (HGráf ch. 16), F 1871, 95; Krause 1990, 270-3.

Context: When a shoal of herrings is spotted in spring Eyvindr mounts a fishing expedition.

Notes: [All]: Fsk (ÍF 29, 98) is evidently drawing upon Lv 13 and 14 when it mentions a shortage of herrings, even though it does not cite these stanzas (Poole 1991, 13-14). — [2] verfótum ‘with sea-feet [OARS]’: This nonce-kenning is explained by Konráð Gíslason (1866b, 188-90). In association with the verb sporna ‘pace, prance’ it represents a manneristic extension of ‘horse of the sea’, a familiar pattern for ship-kennings. Ver n. means ‘fishing-ground’ in prose but functions as a generic sea-heiti in poetry (CVC: ver). — [3] spáþernum ‘prophesying terns’: The significance of this base-word and its prefixed agentive spá- ‘prophesying’, as well as the general association between terns and herrings, have been much discussed. Flornes (1939, 15-6) states that changes in the call of terns, and their flocking behaviour, can indicate (or ‘prophesy’) the presence of herring. But perhaps the idea is simply that boats follow terns, who indicate where the shoals are. — [5] vita ‘to see’: The inf. form is used in anacoluthon (Hkr 1893-1901, IV), since although the two infinitives sporna ‘prance’ (l. 3) and vita ‘see’ are both dependent on lôtum ‘let us make’ (l. 1), the constructions are different. — [5] -murur ‘silverweeds’: Part of a unique kenning, exceptional because in referring to herrings as plants, it crosses between the animal and plant kingdoms (cf. Meissner 116). Mura f. is the plant potentilla anserina (CVC: mura). — [5] jǫkla akrmurur ‘the silverweeds of the field of ice-floes [(lit. ‘field-silverweeds of ice-floes’) SEA > HERRINGS]’: This kenning signifies ‘fish’ in general rather then ‘herrings’ specifically, as do those in st. 14/2 and st. 14/6. But the sense ‘herring’ is indicated by the reciprocal kenning for ‘arrows’ in st. 14/8, which features the base-word hlaupsildr ‘leaping herrings’, and by the prose contexts, which specify herrings. — [6] falar ‘marketable’: In constructions involving the adj. falr, the person in the dat. (here vinum ‘friends’) appears to be the seller (CVC, Fritzner: falr; cf. LP: 3 falr). On this basis, the sense here is that Eyvindr will see whether his friends can catch herring to sell (or barter) (NN §3050). These ‘friends’ are unspecified but might be dependents and workers on Eyvindr’s lands whom, according to Hkr (ÍF 26, 223) he co-opts for a fishing expedition. — [6, 7] ítr ǫl-Gerðr ‘splendid ale-Gerðr <goddess> [WOMAN]’: The addressee here is unknown, except that ítr ‘splendid’ might suggest deference. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) proposes identification with Eyvindr’s wife, but without bringing any evidence.

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