Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Markús Skeggjason (Mark)

12th century; volume 2; ed. Jayne Carroll;

Eiríksdrápa (Eirdr) - 32

Skj info: Markús Skeggjason, Isl. lovsigemand og skjald, d. 1107. (AI, 444-53, BI, 414-21).

Skj poems:
1. Eiríksdrápa
2. Knútsdrápa(?)
3. Kristsdrápa(?)
4. Lausavísur

Markús Skeggjason (Mark) was the son of Skeggi Bjarnason and possibly a brother of the poet Þórarinn Skeggjason (ÞSkegg). He was lawspeaker in Iceland from 1084 until his death on 15 October 1107. In Íslendingabók (Íslb, ÍF 1, 22) he is named as an important informant for Ari Þorgilsson about the lives of the earlier lawspeakers in Iceland. He had gained this information from his brother, father and grandfather. Markús appears to have had close ties to the Church: during his time as lawspeaker, and with his guidance, Gizurr Ísleifsson, bishop of Skálholt (1081-1118), established the Icel. tithe laws (ÍF 1, 22). Markús was among the most respected poets in the canon of the C13th and he is cited often in SnE and TGT (see below).

In Skáldatal, Markús is associated with S. Knútr Sveinsson of Denmark (d. 1086), Eiríkr inn góði ‘the Good’ Sveinsson of Denmark (d. 1103), and Ingi Steinkelsson of Sweden (d. 1110) (SnE 1848-87, III, 252, 258, 260, 267, 271, 283, see also 348-53). An extended hrynhent poem about Eiríkr (Mark Eirdr), composed after his death in 1103, and one helmingr about ‘Sveinn’s brother’, probably S. Knútr (Mark KnútdrIII), survive, alongside one helmingr and a couplet from a possible drápa about Christ (Mark KristdrIII) and two lvv. (Mark Lv 1-2III). Aside from Eirdr, all of Markús’s extant poetry is transmitted in SnE or TGT, and it has been edited in SkP III.

Eiríksdrápa (‘Drápa about Eiríkr’) — Mark EirdrII

Jayne Carroll 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 432-60.

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Skj: Markús Skeggjason: 1. Eiríksdrápa, o. 1104 (AI, 444-52, BI, 414-20); stanzas (if different): 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32

SkP info: II, 460

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

32 — Mark Eirdr 32II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 32’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 460.

Fjarri hefr at fœðisk dýrri
flotna vǫrðr á élkers botni
— hôva leyfir hverr maðr ævi
hringvarpaðar — gjalfri kringðum.

Fjarri hefr at {dýrri vǫrðr flotna} fœðisk á {gjalfri kringðum botni {élkers}}; hverr maðr leyfir hôva ævi {hringvarpaðar}.

It is unlikely that {a more precious guardian of sea-warriors} [RULER] might be born on {the surge-encircled bottom {of the storm-vessel}} [SKY/HEAVEN > EARTH]; each person praises the noble life {of the ring-thrower} [GENEROUS RULER].

Mss: R(26r/14), R(26r/29) (l. 1), Tˣ(26v), W(56), B(5r/6), 744ˣ(29r), B(5r/19) (l. 1) (SnE)

Readings: [1] fœðisk: finnisk B(5r/6), B(5r/19)    [3] hverr: ‘[…]verr’ B(5r/6), hverr 744ˣ    [4] ‑varpaðar: ‑varpaðan B(5r/6)

Editions: Skj: Markús Skeggjason, 1. Eiríksdrápa 3: AI, 445, BI, 414, Skald I, 204; SnE 1848-87, I, 318-19, 322-3, II, 527, 528, SnE 1931, 114, 115, SnE 1998, I, 34, 36.

Context: This helmingr is cited in SnE (Skm) in a section illustrating kennings for ‘sky’. The first l. is repeated in the following section, on kennings for ‘earth’. In B, the half-st. is recorded in a section with kennings for ‘the world’ and l. 1 is repeated in the subsequent section with kennings for ‘earth’.

Notes: [All]: The content of the helmingr contains formulas characteristic of the conclusions of royal encomia (see Fidjestøl 1982, 153). — [1] fœðisk ‘might be born’: Finnisk (subj.) ‘might be found’, the reading of B, provides an acceptable alternative reading. — [2, 4] á gjalfri kringðum botni élkers ‘on the surge-encircled bottom of the storm-vessel [SKY/HEAVEN > EARTH]’: Cf. Sturl Hákkv 5/6-8 á víðum botni vindkers, kringðum gjálfri ‘on the wide bottom of the wind-vessel [SKY/HEAVEN > EARTH], encircled by the surge’.

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