Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Glúmr Geirason (Glúmr)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Diana Whaley;

2. Gráfeldardrápa (Gráf) - 15

Skj info: Glúmr Geirason, Islandsk skjald omkr. 950-75. (AI, 75-8, BI, 65-8).

Skj poems:
1. Kvad om Erik blodøkse
2. Gráfeldardrápa
3. Lausavísa

Glúmr Geirason (Glúmr) was the son of Geiri (patronymic unknown), a Norwegian who settled in Iceland. Glúmr was born there in the early tenth century and moved with his father and brother from Mývatn, via Húnavatn, to Króksfjörður, Breiðafjörður, because of some killings (Ldn, ÍF 1, 284; he is also mentioned in ÍF 1, 154, 161, 238 and appears in Reykdœla saga, ÍF 10, 204-12). He married Ingunn Þórólfsdóttir, and their son was Þórðr Ingunnarson, who features in Laxdœla saga (ÍF 5, 86-7). Glúmr is named in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 273, 274) as the poet of Eiríkr blóðøx ‘Blood-axe’ (d. c. 954) and Haraldr gráfeldr ‘Grey-cloak’ (d. c. 970), and poems for both survive in part. Considerably more of Gráfeldardrápa (Gráf) survives than of the Poem about Eiríkr blóðøx (EirIII), though there is some difficulty in assigning certain stanzas to one or other poem (see Introduction to Gráf). Glúmr is the subject of HaukrV Ísldr 11IV, which depicts him as a zealous fighter who was with Haraldr gráfeldr at his victory at Fitjar (c. 961). Glúmr’s presence at the battle is somewhat in doubt, however, since although the Fsk text of his lausavísa on the subject (Glúmr Lv) contains sák ‘I saw’, the Hkr and ÓT mss have frák ‘I have heard’. From Glúmr Gráf it is clear that Glúmr outlived Haraldr (see Introduction). Edited below are Gráf and Lv, while the fragment of Eir is edited in SkP III since it is preserved only in SnE and TGT.

Gráfeldardrápa (‘Drápa about (Haraldr) gráfeldr ‘Grey-cloak’’) — Glúmr GráfI

Alison Finlay 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa’ 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. 245.

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Skj: Glúmr Geirason: 2. Gráfeldardrápa, c 970 (AI, 75-8, BI, 66-8); stanzas (if different): 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

SkP info: I, 265

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

15 — Glúmr Gráf 15I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa 15’ 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. 265.

Vígôsu tekr vísa
valfall Haralds alla.

Valfall Haralds tekr {alla vígôsu} vísa.

Haraldr’s death in battle affects {all the battle-gods} [WARRIORS] of the leader.

Mss: Þb106ˣ(30v) (Ldn)

Readings: [1] ‑ôsu: ‘sso’ Þb106ˣ

Editions: Skj: Glúmr Geirason, 2. Gráfeldardrápa 14: AI, 78, BI, 68, Skald I, 42NN §254; Ldn 1843, 233, Ldn 1900, 254Ldn 1921, 123, Ldn 1958, 130, Ldn 1974, 624, ÍF 1, 284 n.

Context: This couplet, said to be the stef ‘refrain’ of Gráfeldardrápa, is added in the seventeenth-century Þórðarbók version of Ldn to an account of the settlement of Glúmr’s father, Geiri, near Mývatn.

Notes: [All]: Any interpretation can only be tentative, since it is unknown whether the couplet preserved is syntactically complete, or whether it originally formed part of a four-line unit (as suggested in Skj B, where it is left untranslated). — [1] vígôsu ‘the battle-gods [WARRIORS]’: (a) The emendation, proposed by Kock (NN §254), makes an interpretation of the couplet possible. The dat. pl. vígôsum in Hskv Útdr 1/3II has been interpreted as ‘battle-gods’ (NN §§964; LP: vígôss) but in that context ôsum is more likely to be from áss ‘beam, plank’, hence ‘protective planking’ (see Note to Útdr 1/3II). (b) Other eds, following Jón Sigurðsson (Ldn 1843), emend to vígeisu ‘battle-fire’, though this does not make sense in the lines as preserved. Finnur Jónsson (LH I, 526) comments on Glúmr’s preference for the word eisa ‘fire’; the parallel compounds rógeisu ‘strife-fire’ (st. 2/5), dolgeisu ‘battle-fire’ (st. 3/1) were presumably the models for Jón’s emendation. — [2] valfall ‘death in battle’: This more usually means ‘slaughter’ applied collectively to a mass of bodies (e.g. Ótt Knútdr 10/5, Arn Hardr 7/4II), but the sense could possibly be extended to the death of an individual, Haraldr. If on the other hand the couplet is syntactically incomplete (cf. Note to [All] above), the word may have had its usual sense.

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