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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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 23 May 2022)

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15 

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, 251

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Glúmr Gráf 3I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa 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. 251.

Dolgeisu rak dísar
— drótt kom mǫrg á flótta —
gumna vinr at gamni
gjóðum írsk*ar þjóðir.
Foldar rauð, ok felldi,
Freyr í manna dreyra
sverð, — vas sigr of orðinn —
seggi, mækis eggjar.


{The friend of men} [RULER = Haraldr] pursued Irish troops to the enjoyment {of ospreys {of the goddess {of the battle-fire}}}; [SWORD > VALKYRIE > RAVENS/EAGLES] many a war-band took to flight. {The Freyr {of the land of the blade of the sword}} [SHIELD > WARRIOR] reddened the sword in the blood of men and killed warriors; victory came about.

context: This stanza follows immediately after st. 2.

notes: See Note to st. 2. — [1-4]: Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 26; see also Fms) avoids the emendation of ms. írskrar þjóðar (see Note to l. 4) by taking rak dolgeisu together to mean ‘waged war, harried’. He sees this as parallel to vann rógeisu ‘made battle-fire, fierce conflict’, i.e. ‘proceeded with fire and the sword’ in st. 2/5 above (ÍF 26, 155 n.). However, dolg and róg both mean ‘battle’, and when compounded with eisa ‘fire’ form a well-attested pattern of sword-kenning (Meissner 150, which includes these two examples). Further, Bjarni’s interpretation leaves gjóðir dísar ‘ospreys of the dís’ as a raven-kenning in which dís, a female being, usually supernatural (LP: dís), signifies ‘valkyrie’ without a determinant. There are no other certain examples of this, and it is more satisfactory to read dolgeisa in the sense ‘sword’ as the determinant of the valkyrie-kenning. — [2]: The line is identical to Hókr Eirfl 7/8 and almost identical to Hfr ErfÓl 1/2. — [5-8]: The difficulty of this helmingr is reflected in the variety of readings for l. 7. There are at least four possibilities. (a) The interpretation adopted here, like (b) and (c), is based on the reading of 61 and Flat in l. 7. A slight drawback is that the shield-kenning is somewhat overdetermined, since mækis ‘of the sword’ and possibly eggjar ‘of the blade’ would suffice as the determinant (cf. Meissner 173-4). However, eggja mækis ‘of the sword’s blades’ occurs as the determinant of a kenning in st. 10/2. (b) In the interpretation of Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) the warrior-kenning is Freyr sverðfoldar ‘the Freyr <god> of the sword-land [SHIELD > WARRIOR]’, but this assumes that sverð ‘sword’, the first possible object for rauð ‘reddened’, would be understood not as an object but part of a kenning with tmesis (of which this would be an unusually early example; cf. the criticism by Kock in NN §255). (c) Kock offers the simpler reading foldar Freyr rauð sverð í manna dreyra ok fel(l)di seggi mækis eggjum ‘the Freyr of the land reddened the sword in men’s blood and brought men down with the sword’s blades’. He takes eggju ‘blade’ in Flat as dat. pl. eggjum, though the f. dat. sg. eggju can be retained with the same sense. As a ruler-kenning, Freyr foldar ‘Freyr of the land’ resembles forms such as vǫrðr grundar ‘guardian of ground’ (st. 5/4 below), but differs crucially in having a god-name as base-word, more usual in warrior-kennings. (d) Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson in ÍF 26 follows the reading in l. 7, giving the order foldar Freyr rauð mækis eggjar í manna dreyra ok feldi seggi sunnr, of hlynninn á sigr ‘the Freyr of land reddened the sword’s edges in men’s blood and killed men in the south, fostering victory’. The word *hlynninn does not occur elsewhere but is derived by Bjarni from the rare verb hlynna ‘to launch, help (someone) on their way’, and in ModIcel. ‘to foster’.

texts: Flat 188 (6), HákGóð 2 (I 61), ÓT 5, Hkr 71 (I 61)

editions: Skj Glúmr Geirason: 2. Gráfeldardrápa 2 (AI, 75-6; BI, 66);

Skald I, 41, NN §255; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 174, IV, 45-6, ÍF 26, 156, Hkr 1991, I, 99 (HákGóð ch. 5), F 1871, 67; Fms 1, 25-6, Fms 12, 26, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 25 (ch. 16), Flat 1860-8, I, 52



AM 35 folx (Kx) 85v, 17 - 85v, 24 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  image  
AM 45 fol (F) 15ra, 7 - 15ra, 9 (Hkr)  image  image  image  image  
AM 37 folx (J1x) 50v, 22 - 51r, 3 (Hkr)  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 48r, 17 - 48r, 24 (Hkr)  image  
AM 61 fol (61) 4ra, 28 - 4ra, 30 (ÓT)  image  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb) 5rb, 12 - 5rb, 15 (ÓT)  image  
GKS 1005 fol (Flat) 7rb, 11 - 7rb, 13 (ÓT)  image  image  image  
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