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.

 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, 252

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Glúmr Gráf 4I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa 4’ 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. 252.

Austrlǫndum fórsk undir
allvaldr, sás gaf skǫldum
— hann fekk gagn at gunni —
gunnhǫrga slǫg mǫrgum.
Slíðrtungur lét syngva
sverðleiks reginn — ferðir
sendi gramr at grundu
gollvarpaða* — snarpar.

Allvaldr, sás gaf mǫrgum skǫldum {slǫg {gunnhǫrga}}, fórsk undir austrlǫndum; hann fekk gagn at gunni. {Reginn {sverðleiks}} lét {snarpar slíðrtungur} syngva; gramr sendi ferðir {gollvarpaða*} at grundu.

The mighty ruler, who gave many poets {strikers {of battle-temples}} [SHIELDS > WEAPONS], subdued eastern lands; he gained success in war. {The god of {sword-play}} [BATTLE > WARRIOR] made {keen scabbard-tongues} [SWORDS] sing; the prince sent troops {of gold-throwers} [GENEROUS MEN] to the ground.

Mss: (88r-v), F(15va), J1ˣ(52v), J2ˣ(49v-50r) (Hkr); 61(4va), Bb(5vb), Flat(7va) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] fórsk undir: so J2ˣ, 61, fezk undir Kˣ, ‘forst vndir’ F, ‘forskyndir’ J1ˣ, ‘for skendir’ Bb, ‘forst undar’ Flat    [3] gagn at: gang af Bb    [4] ‑hǫrga: ‘horda’ Flat;    slǫg: lǫg J1ˣ, J2ˣ, ‘skug’ Bb;    mǫrgum: ‘manegum’ J1ˣ    [5] Slíðrtungur: skíðr tungu Bb, síðþungr Flat;    syngva: so F, syngja Kˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, Bb, Flat, slyngja 61    [6] ferðir: firðir J1ˣ, J2ˣ, ferðar 61, Bb, Flat    [7] at: af Bb;    grundu: grunni Bb    [8] goll‑: gunn‑ J1ˣ, J2ˣ;    ‑varpaða*: ‑varpaðar all

Editions: Skj: Glúmr Geirason, 2. Gráfeldardrápa 3: AI, 76, BI, 66, Skald I, 41, NN §§256, 257; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 180-1, IV, 49, ÍF 26, 162-3, Hkr 1991, I, 103 (HákGóð ch. 10), F 1871, 70; Fms 1, 30, Fms 12, 27, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 29 (ch. 19), Flat 1860-8, I, 54 .

Context: The Eiríkssynir (or Gunnhildarsynir) have left Orkney for the court of Haraldr Gormsson, king of Denmark, who fosters the young Haraldr gráfeldr. Some of the Eiríkssynir undertake raids in the Baltic.

Notes: [All]: The reference to Gráf 4 in the Note to Anon Líkn 16/7VII is to the stanza now numbered 5 below. — [All]: Despite a shared reference to the Baltic region, there is a poor fit between the stanza and its prose context, since its focus on an individual contrasts with the account in the prose of the Eiríkssynir as a group. Moreover, that individual is clearly a king (allvaldr ‘mighty ruler’, l. 2), whereas Haraldr, according to Hkr, is a young prince at the time, not even the eldest of the brothers (since his brother Gamli is still alive), and under the patronage of the Danish king. This discrepancy could be explained by the role of the stanza within a drápa composed retrospectively about Haraldr once he has achieved kingly status, but the stanza does not identify him specifically. — [1] austrlǫndum ‘eastern lands’: Austrlǫnd is commonly used of the Baltic regions. — [1] fórsk undir ‘subdued’: Farask normally means ‘perish, die’ (LP: fara B), but this cannot be the sense here. (a) Kock (NN §256) takes austrlǫndum as a dat. object of farask undir which he translates as lägga under sig ‘subdue’, citing the parallel hann fersk foldu grœnni undir ‘he subdues the green earth’ (GunnLeif Merl I 25VIII); this is adopted here, as also by Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 26). (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) reads fórsk undir slǫg, translating vovede sig under våbnene ‘risked his life against weapons’, and takes austrlǫndum as a locative dat. i de østlige lande ‘in the eastern lands’. Such a use of the dat. is possible, but restricted even in poetry (NS §117). — [2, 4] gaf mǫrgum skǫldum slǫg gunnhǫrga ‘gave many poets strikers of battle-temples [SHIELDS > WEAPONS]’: Weapons were among the conventional rewards given to poets for their poetry; see, e.g., Hfr Lv 11V (Hallfr 14), celebrating the gift of a sword from Óláfr Tryggvason. The kenning is unusual. Gunnhǫrg(a) ‘battle-temples’ belongs to a pattern well attested among shield-kennings (Meissner 170-1), but slǫg ‘strikers’ is the pl. of slag n., which is itself a heiti for a weapon, so that the tvíkent kenning ‘strikers of battle-temples’ assumed here appears somewhat overdetermined. The translation here, however, follows Reichardt’s suggestion (1928, 178) that slǫg gunnhǫrga functions effectively as a kenning, exploiting the relation of slǫg with slá ‘to strike’ to mean ‘weapons which strike shields’. (b) Kock (NN §256) takes gunnhǫrga ‘shields’ as acc. pl. rather than gen. pl., and hence a joint object, with slǫg ‘swords’, of gaf ‘gave’, in an unusual use of asyndetic parataxis (i.e. omission of a conj.). This is questioned by Reichardt (1928, 178). (c) Finnur Jónsson in Skj B takes slǫg ‘weapons’ as the object of fórsk undir ‘risked his life against’ (see Note to l. 1 fórsk undir), and construes gunnhǫrga alone as a shield-kenning. — [5] slíðrtungur ‘scabbard-tongues [SWORDS]’: The word for scabbard is normally pl. slíðrar, and this appears in RvHbreiðm Hl 18/5III tunga slíðra ‘tongue of the scabbard [SWORD]’. The sg. slíðr seen in the present kenning itself means a ‘sliver’, two of which could be bound together to make a scabbard; use of the sg. is paralleled in Mark Lv 2/4III slíðráll ‘scabbard-eel [SWORD]’. — [6] reginn ‘the god’: Reginn appears as the base-word of a warrior-kenning here and occasionally elsewhere, though its identity is uncertain. It seems to be a m. sg. counterpart to n. pl. regin ‘gods’, but association with the dwarf-name Reginn (see Note to Hhárf Snædr 1/7) is also possible. See further LP: reginn (where Finnur Jónsson suggests bevæger ‘mover’), Meissner 264 and Note to Þjóð Haustl 12/6III. — [8] gollvarpaða* ‘of gold-throwers [GENEROUS MEN]’: (a) This edn tentatively follows Konráð Gíslason (1866b, 190-4) and Finnur Jónsson (Skj B; LP: gollvǫrpuðr) in interpreting gollvǫrpuðr as a kenning for a generous man, ‘one who throws, distributes gold’ (cf. Meissner 323), and construing it, with emendation of ‑varpaðar to gen. pl. ‑varpaða, as part of the phrase ferðir gollvarpaða ‘troops of gold-distributors’. The ‑ar in the mss could perhaps have arisen by anticipation of the following snarpar. (b) Kock (NN §257) disputes this interpretation on the grounds that a victorious king would be described as a generous ‘gold-distributor’, but hardly his victims, and avoids emendation by interpreting gollvarpaðar as a f. acc. pl. adj., lit. ‘gold-thrown’, describing the ferðir ‘troops’ to whom gold is distributed. This solution is adopted in ÍF 26 (where snarpar ‘keen’ is also taken to modify ferðir). However, emendation seems preferable since the concept of ‘throwing’, i.e. distributing gold is so firmly associated with the kenning type of the generous man, while it is doubtful whether a term for ‘thrown’ could mean ‘endowed with’ or ‘having received’ in a cpd adj.

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