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Jórunn skáldmær (Jór)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Judith Jesch;

Sendibítr (Send) - 5

Nothing is known of Jórunn skáldmær ‘Poet-maiden’ (Jór): who she was, when or where she lived, or when or why she composed the poem Sendibítr (Send) attributed to her. Her nickname indicates a young, unmarried woman who composed poetry. Jórunn is the only female poet among the sixty-seven skalds named in Skm (SnE 1998, I, lv-lix). Mss C(9r) and (41v) have the masculine name Jǫrundr instead, but this is unlikely to be significant, as no poet by the name of Jǫrundr is otherwise known – it is an understandable mistake given how rare named women poets were. Jórunn is often assumed to have been a tenth-century Norwegian, contemporary with Kings Haraldr and Hálfdan, but the dating of Send, and therefore of her lifetime, is uncertain (see Introduction below).

Sendibítr (‘Biting message’) — Jór SendI

Judith Jesch 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Jórunn skáldmær, Sendibítr’ 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. 143.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5 

Skj: Jórunn skáldmær: Sendibítr, om Harald hårfagre (AI, 60-1, BI, 53-4)

SkP info: I, 145

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Jór Send 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Jórunn skáldmær, Sendibítr 1’ 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. 145.

Bragningr réð í blóði
— beið herr konungs reiði —
— hús lutu opt fyr eisum —
óþjóðar slǫg rjóða.

Bragningr réð rjóða slǫg í blóði óþjóðar; herr beið reiði konungs; hús lutu opt fyr eisum.

The ruler reddened weapons in the blood of evil people; the army suffered the king’s anger; houses often collapsed because of fires.

Mss: R(40r), Tˣ(41v), U(37v), A(15r), B(6v), 744ˣ(42v), C(9r) (SnE)

Readings: [1] réð í blóði: ‘[…]’ B, réð blóði 744ˣ;    réð: rauð U, C, ‘ręð’ A    [2] beið herr konungs: ‘[…]’ B, ‘beið … konungss’ 744ˣ    [3] lutu: hlutu U    [4] ó‑: so Tˣ, U, A, 744ˣ, ‘i‑’ R, ‘[…]’ B, ‘y‑’ C;    slǫg: so all others, slog R;    rjóða: hrjóða C

Editions: Skj: Jórunn skáldmær, Sendibítr 1: AI, 60, BI, 53, Skald I, 33, NN §§247, 303B; SnE 1848-87, I, 524, II, 344, 541, 608, SnE 1931, 184, SnE 1998, I, 103-4, 222.

Context: The helmingr is cited in the Skm section of SnE for its use of the word bragningr ‘ruler’, one example of the honorific titles (tignarnǫfn) derived from the names given to the descendants of the sons of the legendary king Hálfdan gamli ‘the Old’, in this case Bragi.

Notes: [All]: The C18th copy 744ˣ has been used in the Readings above where B is not legible. — [All]: Although the helmingr refers to burning of buildings and the anger of a king, it does not clearly match the prose narrative with which Send is associated (see Introduction), but rather seems to be a generic battle description. Kreutzer (1972, 93-4) takes it to be the first half of st. 3. — [1, 2] bragningr; konungs ‘the ruler; the king’s’: Without a clear context for this stanza (see second Note to [All]), it is not certain who is indicated by these terms, but the most likely is that both refer to Haraldr hárfagri, the king who is named in st. 2/1, 4 and prominent throughout Send. — [1] réð: An auxiliary to inf. rjóða (l. 4), hence réð rjóða ‘reddened’.  — [3] opt ‘often’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) was scathingly criticised by Kock (NN §247) for construing this with réð rjóða ‘reddened’ (ll. 1, 4), thereby interrupting the apparently straightforward syntax of this line and creating a highly complex word order. — [3] eisum ‘fires’: This word occurs predominantly in poems of the C12th or later, supporting Fidjestøl’s suggestion (1982, 181) that this is a later poem based on historical events. — [4] óþjóðar ‘of evil people’: Another word which seems to be typical of the C12th or later, though it does occur in Arn Hryn 12/1II.

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated