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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, 146

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — Jór Send 2I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Jórunn skáldmær, Sendibítr 2’ 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. 146.

Harald frák, Halfdan, spyrja
herðibrǫgð, en lǫgðis
sýnisk svartleitr reyni
sjá bragr, inn hárfagra.

Halfdan, frák Harald inn hárfagra spyrja herðibrǫgð, en sjá bragr sýnisk svartleitr {reyni lǫgðis}.

Hálfdan, I have learned that Haraldr inn hárfagri (‘Fair-hair’) heard about [your] tough deeds, and that poem seems dark-faced {to the tester of the sword} [WARRIOR].

Mss: (76v), F(13rb), J1ˣ(44v) (Hkr); Holm2(2v), 972ˣ(12va), 325VI(2va), 73aˣ(4v), 78aˣ(3r), 68(2r), 61(76ra), Bb(120va), Tóm(92r) (ÓH); 61(2vb), 53(2va), Bb(3rb), Flat(6rb) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] Harald: Haralds 61(76ra);    spyrja: verja 68    [2] herðibrǫgð: ‘herði braug’ Holm2, herði brǫgð 972ˣ, hreystibrǫgð Flat;    en: er Flat;    lǫgðis: so F, Holm2, 73aˣ, 68, 61(76ra), Bb(120va), Tóm, 61(2vb), 53, lǫgðisk Kˣ, 78aˣ, lǫgðusk 972ˣ, 325VI, Bb(3rb), sǫgðusk Flat    [3] ‑leitr: ‑leikr J1ˣ, ‘‑lættr’ 73aˣ, ‑leiðr Bb(3rb);    reyni: raunar 972ˣ, 78aˣ, 53, Bb(3rb)    [4] inn: ins 61(76ra), Tóm, 53, Flat;    ‑fagra: ‑fagri F, 68, Bb(120va), Bb(3rb)

Editions: Skj: Jórunn skáldmær, Sendibítr 2: AI, 60, BI, 53, Skald I, 33; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 154, IV, 43-4, ÍF 26, 142 (HHárf ch. 36), F 1871, 60; Fms 1, 13, Fms 12, 25, ÓH 1941, I, 12 (ch. 3), Flat 1860-8, I, 45; ÓT 1958-2000, I, 13 (ch. 5).

Context: This helmingr is quoted in each of the texts at the end of a chapter recounting, in nearly identical terms, the anecdote about Haraldr, Hálfdan and Guthormr sindri described in the Introduction above; the introductory words are also cited above.

Notes: [All]: Kreutzer (1972, 92) takes this stanza to be the beginning of a section, possibly even of the whole poem. — [1, 4] Harald inn hárfagra ‘Haraldr inn hárfagri “Fair-hair”’: Earlier eds (Fms 12; Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B; Skald) read Haralds ins hárfagra, making it the deeds of King Haraldr that are heard about by Hálfdan, and Hálfdan who finds the poem svartleitr ‘dark-faced’. However, since the variant Haralds is found in only one, inferior, medieval ms. (61), it seems best to construe the text as it stands, if possible. This involves taking Halfdan as a vocative, with the poet stating to him that his father Haraldr had heard of his herðibrǫgð ‘tough deeds’. This solution is adopted with caution for, while there are a number of examples of a construction of acc. + frák ‘I have learned’ + inf., in that order (Sigv ErfÓl 7/1, 18/1, HSt Rst 28/1, ÞGísl Búdr 8/1, RvHbreiðm Hl 39/1III), in none of these does a vocative interrupt the syntax. Vocatives are also more common at the beginning of the line (e.g. Sigv Víkv 11/1, Arn Hryn 12/1II, Valg Har 7/1II), though there are parallels to this medial positioning, e.g. Bragi Rdr 1/1III, ÞjóðA Magnfl 1/1II, ESk Geisl 71/1VII. Moreover, a vocative, suggesting contemporaneity, does not sit comfortably with other indications that the poem may be a later composition. On the nickname hárfagri, see Note to l. 4. — [2] herðibrǫgð ‘tough deeds’: A hap. leg. Compounds in herði- occur mainly, though not exclusively, in late poetry, cf. Bjbp Jóms 8/7 (í) herðiraunum ‘(in) tough trials’. The reference is presumably to Halfdán’s attempted murder of his brother Eiríkr at Sǫlvi (see Introduction). — [3] svartleitr ‘dark-faced’: The only other occurrence of this adj. is in Hjþ Lv 1/3VIII, where it is applied to a person, though compare svartflekkóttr ‘black-flecked’ applied to a poem in Anon Mhkv 22/8III. The reference is presumably to the content of the poetry (bragr), though LP: svartleitr suggests difficulty of understanding. — [4] sjá bragr ‘that poem’: Kreutzer (1972, 92, and cf. Fms 12) suggests rather ‘behaviour, actions’, citing ModIcel. bragur and ModNorw. brag, but this meaning is not recorded in ONP: bragr. It is preferable to take bragr as referring back to spyrja (here) ‘heard’; a poem by Guthormr on Hálfdan could well have been the means by which Haraldr heard about his actions. The art. sjá, strictly ‘this’ rather than ‘that’, could point to Jórunn’s own poem, but in context this is less likely. — [4] inn hárfagra ‘inn hárfagri (“Fair-hair”)’: Lit. ‘the Fair-hair(ed)’. The antiquity of this nickname as applied to Norway’s founding king is debatable (Jesch 1996, 139-44). For traditions relating to it, see ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.

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