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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 5 December 2021)

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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, 258

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Glúmr Gráf 8I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa 8’ 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. 258.

Mælti mætra hjalta
malm-Óðinn sá, blóði,
þróttarorð, es þorði
þjóðum vǫll at rjóða.
Víðlendr of bað vinda
verðung Haraldr sverðum
— frægt þótti þat flotnum
fylkis orð — at morði.

{{Sá mætra hjalta malm}-Óðinn}, es þorði at rjóða vǫll blóði þjóðum, mælti þróttarorð. Víðlendr Haraldr of bað verðung vinda sverðum at morði; þat orð fylkis þótti frægt flotnum.

{That Óðinn <god> {of the metal of the splendid hilt}} [(lit. ‘metal-Óðinn of the splendid hilt’) SWORD > WARRIOR], who dared to redden the field with the blood of troops, spoke forceful words. Ruling extensive lands, Haraldr bade the retinue draw swords in battle; that speech of the leader seemed glorious to seafarers.

Mss: (128v), 39(5rb), F(22vb), J1ˣ(80r), J2ˣ(75r) (Hkr); 61(10vb), 53(8vb), 54(4va-b), Bb(14va), 62(3rb-va), Flat(11va) (ÓT); FskBˣ(18r), FskAˣ(74) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] mætra: mettra J1ˣ, motra Flat    [2] sá: þá FskBˣ    [3] es (‘er’): en 62, Flat    [4] þjóðum: þjóðu Bb, bjóðum FskBˣ    [5] ‑lendr: ‑lend FskAˣ;    of (‘um’): ok 53    [6] verðung: ‘verþing’ 54, Bb, verðungr FskBˣ;    Haraldr: Haralds 39, F, Haraldar 62    [7] frægt: ‘frǫgt’ J2ˣ, frekt 53, Flat, frétt Bb, framm FskBˣ;    flotnum: ‘flot[…]’ 39, flótta FskBˣ, FskAˣ

Editions: Skj: Glúmr Geirason, 2. Gráfeldardrápa 7: AI, 77, BI, 66, Skald I, 41, NN §1061; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 276, IV, 71-2, ÍF 26, 238-9, Hkr 1991, I, 158-9 (ÓTHkr ch. 14), F 1871, 104; Fms 1, 88Fms 12, 33, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 95 (ch. 53), Flat 1860-8, I, 85; Fsk 1902-3, 65 (ch. 14), ÍF 29, 108 (ch. 16).

Context: Haraldr, on his way to Denmark to accept an offer of rights to revenues from King Haraldr Gormsson, is intercepted at Háls in Limafjǫrðr (Limfjorden) by Gull-Haraldr Knútsson, who has been encouraged by Hákon jarl Sigurðarson to seize the kingdom of Norway. Despite having the smaller force, Haraldr accepts the challenge to do battle.

Notes: [1-2] mætra hjalta malm- ‘metal ... of the splendid hilt [SWORD]’: On pl. hjǫlt meaning ‘hilt’, see Note to Anon Ól 1/5; for parallels to malmr ‘metal’ as the base-word in a sword-kenning, see Meissner 155, and for hjalta or other sword-parts as determinant, see Meissner 162-3. — [2] -Óðinn ‘Óðinn <god>’: This is the only known instance of Óðinn, as opposed to numerous heiti for the god, as the base-word of a kenning; see further Note to st. 13 [All]. — [3] þróttarorð ‘forceful words’: Lit. ‘words of power, endurance’. Since this combination recurs it is treated here as a cpd, while Skj B, ÍF 26 and ÍF 29 print it as two words; see Note to Hfr ErfÓl 3/7-8. — [4] þjóðum ‘of troops’: The context suggests a military sense here (as also, e.g., in Hfr ErfÓl 14/4, ÞjóðA Lv 11/3II), though ‘people’ is a more usual sense of þjóð. Syntactically, this dat. pl. form is capable of several interpretations. (a) The phrase blóði þjóðum ‘blood of troops’ is assumed here (as in Skj B), as the most natural in both sense and word order. The usage is comparable with the dat. of respect (almost of possession) common with parts of the body (NS §100 Anm. 3), though the gen. pl. þjóða might be expected (cf. manna ‘of men’ and synonyms qualifying blóð ‘blood’, e.g. in Eyv Hák 6/8, Eyv Hál 8/4, Anon Liðs 2/5-6). (b) Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 26) also attaches þjóðum to the subordinate clause, but reads rjóða þjóðum vǫll blóði ‘redden the field with blood for men’. Þjóðum is explained as a type of dativus ethicus, with the sense ‘before men’, i.e. ‘where men fought/stood’. ÍF 29 has the same construal, as does Hkr 1991, though with a different word order. (c) Kock (NN §1061) takes þjóðum as the indirect object of mælti in the main clause, hence ‘addressed forceful words to men’, but mæla e-m e-t normally means ‘to stipulate sth for sby’. — [5] víðlendr ‘ruling extensive lands’: Lit. ‘broad-landed’. — [5] vinda ‘draw’: Strictly, ‘wind, twist, turn’, but the sense ‘draw’ is suggested by the preceding prose in Hkr and Fsk, which has Haraldr ordering his men to bregða sverðum sínum ‘draw their swords’ (cf. also LP: 2. vinda 2 and previous eds).

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