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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, 458-9

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

29 — Mark Eirdr 29II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 29’ 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. 458-9.

Andar krafði út í lǫndum
alls stýrandi konung snjallan;
elli beiðat ofvægr stillir;
aldar stríð es fregit víða.
Síðan harma siklings dauða
snjallir menn of heimsbyggð alla;
drúpir herr at dolga steypi
dyggvan; þat tér verǫld hryggva.

{Stýrandi alls} krafði snjallan konung andar út í lǫndum; ofvægr stillir beiðat elli; stríð aldar es fregit víða. Síðan harma snjallir menn of alla heimsbyggð dauða siklings; herr drúpir at {dyggvan steypi dolga}; þat tér hryggva verǫld.

{The commander of all} [= God] claimed the spirit from the wise king out in [far-off] lands; the powerful prince did not wait for old age; the grief of men is heard of far and wide. Afterwards wise men all over the inhabited world lament the death of the sovereign; people bow down in grief for {the virtuous destroyer of enemies} [JUST RULER]; that saddens the world.

Mss: (170), 873ˣ(56r), 180b(31v), 20b II(3va) (ll. 1-3) (Knýtl)

Readings: [3] elli beiðat ofvægr stillir: ‘elli beið at of væ[…]’ 20b II;    beiðat: beiðir 180b    [4] aldar stríð es fregit víða: aldr stríð er þat fregit víða JÓ, 873ˣ, aldr stríð er fregit er víða 180b    [7] herr: heimr 180b;    at dolga: en dolgum 180b;    steypi: ‘stypir’ 180b    [8] dyggvan: ‘dyggan’ 180b;    þat tér: þótti 180b

Editions: Skj: Markús Skeggjason, 1. Eiríksdrápa 31: AI, 451, BI, 419-20, Skald I, 207-8, NN §3104; 1741, 170-1,  ÍF 35, 238 (ch. 81).

Context: The st. is cited following the account of Eiríkr’s death in Cyprus, on his way from Constantinople to Jerusalem.

Notes: [All]: Eiríkr died in the city of Paphos (Knýtl: Basta) in Cyprus (10 July 1103), and he was buried there according to Knýtl. See also Saxo (2005, II, 12, 7, 6, pp. 82-3) and Abbot Nikulás’s Leiðarvísir ( I, 20), where Paphos is called ‘Beffa’. In the C12th and C13th, Paphos was an important staging post for pilgrims to the Holy Land. See also Kedar and Westergaard-Nielsen 1978-9, 197-9, 203-4. — [1] stýrandi alls ‘the commander of all [= God]’: Kennings for ‘God’ of this type are otherwise found only in later religious poetry, the first attestation being fifty years later in ESk GeislVII (see LP: allr 2). — [4] stríð aldar ‘the grief of men’: All mss have aldrstríð ‘life-grief’, and the l. could be construed syntactically, following JÓ and 873ˣ, as þat aldrstríð es fregit víða ‘that life-grief is heard of far and wide’ or þat es aldrstríð, fregit viða ‘that is life-grief, heard of far and wide’. However, metrically such a l. is very unwieldy (a l. of Type E that is otherwise not used by Markús) and the cpd aldrstríð is unattested. The present emendation follows earlier eds.

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