Edith Marold, translated from German by John Foulks 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Þjóðólfr, Fragment’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 464.
in texts: Gramm, TGT
SkP info: III, 464
The Third Grammatical Treatise (TGT; ms. W only) contains a four-line fragment attributed to a Þjóðólfr (Þjóðólfr Frag). The skald’s name is preserved only in 761bˣ (‘Þioðolfr’). Ms. W is now defective and reads ‘sem þi[…]’, which has been emended to ‘sem Þjóðólfr kvað’ in earlier editions (SnE 1848-87, II, 162; TGT 1884, 28; TGT 1927, 77). It could be that W was legible when Árni Magnússon copied it in 761bˣ. Earlier editors have attributed this kviðuháttr stanza to Þjóðólfr ór Hvini (ÞjóðI) or to Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson (EyvI). Sveinbjörn Egilsson (SnE 1848-87, III, 399) thought it belonged to Þjóðólfr’s Ynglingatal (YtI), as did Detter (1896, 211), though under a different interpretation. However, the fragment’s assignment to Yt has met with scepticism (TGT 1884, 217; Skj; NN §1014B). Guðbrandur Vigfússon (CPB I, 251), followed by Storm (1899, 138) and Kock (NN §1014B), rejected the assignment to Yt for the stylistic reason that a new subordinate clause begins in l. 2, which is never the case in Yt. They suggested instead that the fragment might have been part of Eyvindr’s Háleygjatal (HálI). Some scholars (Sveinbjörn Egilsson in SnE 1848-87, III, 399-400; Konráð Gíslason 1881, 186) were inclined to believe that it could have belonged to Þjóðolfr ór Hvíni’s poem about Haraldr hárfagri (Þjóð HarI), some stanzas of which (Þjóð Har 1-3I) are contained in Flat and attributed there to Þjóðólfr ór Hvini (Konráð Gíslason 1881, 186). However, this conclusion is clearly contradicted by stylistic differences (Bugge 1894, 128), and none of the stanzas contained in Þjóð HarI is in kviðuháttr.
All these attributions of authorship are doubtful, because they are based solely on the name Þjóðólfr and on the fact that both the present fragment and Yt are composed in kviðuháttr metre. The helmingr also contains a word that is probably Christian (see Note to l. 2 below), and therefore an attribution to a poet of the ninth or tenth century remains tentative at best. It is possible that Þjóðólfr Arnórsson (ÞjóðAII) could have composed the stanza, but he is not known to have composed any poetry in kviðuháttr metre. Hence Finnur Jónsson’s (LH I, 439) conclusion that nothing certain can be said about the fragment, must be supported. In the present edition the half-stanza is therefore attributed to an unknown skald named Þjóðólfr.