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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Stúfr inn blindi Þórðarson kattar (Stúfr)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Stúfsdrápa (Stúfdr) - 8

Skj info: Stúfr enn blindi Þórðarson kattar, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 404-5, BI, 373-4).

Skj poems:
Stúfsdrápa, Stúfa

Stúfr inn blindi ‘the Blind’ Þórðarson kattar ‘of the Cat’ came from an illustrious family of Icel. poets. He was the great-grandson of the skald Glúmr Geirason (GlúmrI) and the grandson of Guðrún Ósvífrsdóttir (see Laxdœla saga, ÍF 5, 87, 94, 281-90). He was also related to Einarr skálaglamm ‘Tinkle-scales’ (EskálI), Úlfr stallari ‘the Marshal’ Óspaksson (Úlfr) and Steinn Herdísarson (Steinn) (See Genealogy IV, ÍF 5). What we know about his life is detailed in two versions of Stúfs þáttr, which has been transmitted in a longer and a shorter version (see ÍF 5, xcii-xciv, 279-90). Stúfr was born c. 1025 and, as his nickname indicates, he must have been blind or had extremely poor vision (it could be, however, that his eyesight failed him in old age, contributing to his nickname; see ÍF 5, xciii). Around 1060 he travelled to Norway to claim an inheritance, and while he was there he met King Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson. The following summer Stúfr visited the king in Trondheim, became his retainer and recited a poem which he had composed in Haraldr’s honour. He then apparently returned to Iceland, and nothing more is known about him (see also SnE 1848-87, III, 593-5; LH 1894-1901, I, 633-4). Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 275) lists him among the court poets of Haraldr harðráði.

Stúfsdrápa — Stúfr StúfdrII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Stúfr inn blindi Þórðarson kattar, Stúfsdrápa’ 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. 350-8.

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Skj: Stúfr enn blindi Þórðarson kattar: Stúfsdrápa, Stúfa, o. 1067 (AI, 404-5, BI, 373-4)

SkP info: II, 357-8

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Stúfr Stúfdr 8II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Stúfr inn blindi Þórðarson kattar, Stúfsdrápa 8’ 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. 357-8.

Gekk sem vind, sás vættki,
varðandi, fjǫr sparði,
geira regns í gǫgnum
glaðr orrostu þaðra.
Gramr flýðit sá síðan
— sœm eru þess of dœmi
éls und erkistóli —
eld né jarn it fellda.

{Varðandi {regns geira}}, sás vættki sparði fjǫr, gekk þaðra glaðr í gǫgnum orrostu sem vind. Síðan flýðit sá gramr eld né it fellda jarn; eru sœm of dœmi þess und {erkistóli éls}.

{The warden {of spears’ rain}} [BATTLE > WARRIOR], who not at all heeded his life, went there, exultant, through battle like the wind. Later that prince fled neither fire nor the pure iron; there are fitting proofs of that under {the archiepiscopal seat of the storm} [HEAVEN].

Mss: Mork(19v) (Mork); Flat(204ra) (Flat); H(76r), Hr(54ra) (H-Hr); FskAˣ(306) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] sás vættki (‘sa er vętki’): sá vaski Flat, ‘sa er væcte’ FskAˣ    [3] regns: regn Flat, Hr, hreggs FskAˣ;    gǫgnum: ‘genum’ Flat, glyggju FskAˣ    [4] orrostu: so Hr, orrustur Mork, H, FskAˣ, ‘ok rostur’ Flat;    þaðra: aðrar Flat, ‘þeðra’ FskAˣ    [5] flýðit: flýði Flat, Hr, ‘fluðe at’ FskAˣ    [6] sœm eru þess of dœmi: so Hr, sœm ef þess eru dœmi Mork, H, sœm en þess eru dœmi Flat, sœm ef þess væri dœmi FskAˣ    [7] erki‑: eiki‑ Flat, ‘ækki’ FskAˣ    [8] jarn it: jarðar Hr

Editions: Skj: Stúfr enn blindi Þórðarson kattar, Stúfsdrápa, Stúfa 8: AI, 405, BI, 374, Skald I, 186, NN §§806, 2040; Mork 1867, 118, Mork 1928-32, 277, Andersson and Gade 2000, 271-2, 481 (MH); Flat 1860-8, III, 395 (MH); Fms 6, 419 (HSig ch. 119); ÍF 29, 286 (ch. 69).

Context: Haraldr advanced at the battle of Stamford Bridge against Harold Godwineson of England (on 25 September 1066).

Notes: [All]: For the battle of Stamford Bridge, see also Hharð Lv 13-14, Arn Hardr 10-13 and ÞjóðA Lv 10-11. — [1] vættki ‘not at all’: Most earlier eds emend to vekki ‘not at all’ to achieve internal rhyme (so Skj B; ÍF 29), but this assimilation occurred considerably later (see ANG §274.1). — [4] orrostu (f. dat. sg.) ‘battle’: Orrostur (f. nom. or acc. pl.) ‘battles’ (so Mork, H, FskBˣ) is ungrammatical (the prep. í gǫgnum ‘through’ takes the dat.). — [5] síðan ‘then’: Skj B takes this adv. with the following cl., which creates a more convoluted w. o. (see NN §806) and violates the w. o. in an independent cl. (the finite verb must appear in syntactic positions 1 or 2). — [6] eru sœm of dœmi þess ‘there are fitting proofs of that’: So Hr, which offers the best reading. Ef eru sœm dœmi þess ‘if there are fitting proofs of that’ (so Mork, H) makes little sense. That also holds true for the FskAˣ variant (ef væri sœm dœmi þess ‘if there were fitting proofs of that’), which, in addition, is hypermetrical. The Flat variant must represent an attempt to restore the meaning (en eru sœm dœmi þess ‘and there are fitting proofs of that’). — [7] und erkistóli éls ‘under the archiepiscopal seat of the storm [HEAVEN]’: It is interesting that this poem is much more strongly Christian in tenor than the other poems about Haraldr (see also the content of the klofastef ‘split refrain’). Stúfr’s grandmother, Guðrún Ósvífrsdóttir, is said to have been the first nun and anchoress in Iceland (see ÍF 5, 228), and it could well be that Stúfr grew up in a pious environment. — [8] it fellda jarn ‘the pure iron’: Felldr is the p. p. of the weak verb fella ‘purify iron’ (Fritzner: fellujarn; Falk 1914, 1-2). Finnur Jónsson suggests ‘the drawn sword’ (LP: fella 2; so also ÍF 29), which is not immediately obvious.

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