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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þórðr Kolbeinsson (ÞKolb)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Jayne Carroll;

Eiríksdrápa (Eirdr) - 17

Skj info: Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 212-19, BI, 202-9).

Skj poems:
1. Belgskakadrápa
2. Gunnlaugsdrápa ormstungu
3. Eiríksdrápa
4. Lausavísur

Þórðr Kolbeinsson (ÞKolb) was born c. 974 in Iceland (ÍF 3, lxxxviii). The Hauksbók version of Ldn names his father as Kolbeinn klakkhǫfði ‘Lump-head’ (?) Atlason, from Atley (Atløy) in Norway, while the Sturlubók version names him as Kolbeinn Þórðarson (ÍF 1, 99, 144, lxiv-vi). Þórðr’s mother is said in Bjarnar saga Hítdœlakappa (BjH, ÍF 3, 168) to be called Arnóra; in Ldn (ÍF 1, 142) she is also identified as the daughter of Gunnbjǫrn. Þórðr’s home was at Hítarnes in western Iceland; the poet Arnórr jarlaskáld (ArnII), one of Þórðr’s five sons, was born there. Two other sons, Kolbeinn and Kolli, are named in BjH, and three unnamed daughters are also mentioned (ÍF 3, 125, 171-2, 174, 179, 208). Nothing is known about Þórðr’s death.

Þórðr is famous as the villain of BjH, in which he marries Oddný eykyndill ‘Island-candle’ Þorkelsdóttir, having deceived her into believing that Bjǫrn Arngeirsson (BjhítV), to whom she is betrothed, is dead. This intensifies a life-long feud between Þórðr and Bjǫrn which ends with Bjǫrn’s death at Þórðr’s hands.

Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 257, 258, 261, 262, 266, 274, 280, 283) names Þórðr as poet to four rulers: Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson of Hlaðir (Lade; d. c. 1023); the Norwegian kings Óláfr Haraldsson (d. 1030) and, in the U redaction, Magnús góði ‘the Good’ Óláfsson (d. 1047); and, in the 761aˣ redaction, the Danish king Sveinn Úlfsson (d. 1076). Of these, only Eiríkr is named in source texts as the recipient of surviving stanzas, although BjH (ÍF 3, 126-7) has Þórðr compose and recite a drápa for Óláfr. It is doubtful on chronological grounds that Þórðr composed for Sveinn Úlfsson, and it has been suggested (Fidjestøl 1982, 117) that confusion with Sveinn tjúguskegg ‘Fork-beard’ (d. 1014) might lie behind the erroneous listing. Seventeen stanzas about Eiríkr jarl survive, and in this edition all are attributed to Eiríksdrápa (ÞKolb Eirdr) with varying degrees of confidence. BjH places Þórðr in Eiríkr’s retinue in Norway, c. 1007, delivering a poem entitled Belgskakadrápa ‘Bag-shaking drápa’ (ÍF 3, 115-9), but this may be the same poem as Eirdr, whose content suggests that Þórðr paid court to Eiríkr in England after the conquest of Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great) in 1016 and before Eiríkr’s death c. 1023 (see Introduction to Eirdr). In addition to Eirdr, twelve lausavísur (ÞKolb Lv 1-12V) are preserved in BjH, mostly directed against the saga’s hero, Bjǫrn, and a single stanza said to be by Þórðr (ÞKolb GunndrV) survives in praise of the poet Gunnlaugr ormstungu ‘Serpent-tongue’ Illugason (GunnlIV, d. c. 1008; ÍF 3, 101-2). These are edited in SkP V.

Eiríksdrápa — ÞKolb EirdrI

Jayne Carroll 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa’ 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. 487.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17 

Skj: Þórðr Kolbeinsson: 3. Eiríksdrápa, 1014 (AI, 213-217, BI, 203-206); stanzas (if different): 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

SkP info: I, 507

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

13 — ÞKolb Eirdr 13I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa 13’ 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. 507.

Enn at eyrar grunni
endr Skjǫldungr of renndi,
sás kjǫlslóðir kníði,
Knútr langskipum útan.
Varð, þars vildu fyrðar
varrláð koma báðir,
hjalmaðs jarls ok hilmis
hœgr fundr á því dœgri.

Enn Skjǫldungr, Knútr, sás kníði {kjǫlslóðir}, of renndi endr langskipum útan at grunni eyrar. Fundr hjalmaðs jarls ok hilmis varð hœgr á því dœgri, þars báðir fyrðar vildu koma {varrláð}.

And the Skjǫldungr, Knútr, who pounded {the keel-paths} [SEA], again ran his longships ashore onto the shallows of the land-spit. The meeting of the helmeted jarl and the prince proved propitious on that day, when both men wished to cross {the oarstroke-land} [SEA].

Mss: (22), 20dˣ(9r), 873ˣ(10v-11r), 41ˣ(8v) (Knýtl)

Readings: [2] endr: end 20dˣ;    Skjǫldungr of: skjǫldungum all    [7] hjalmaðs: hjalmað 20dˣ;    hilmis: so with ‘hilmir in membrin footnote JÓ, hilmir 20dˣ, 873ˣ, 41ˣ

Editions: Skj: Þórðr Kolbeinsson, 3. Eiríksdrápa 10: AI, 216, BI, 205, Skald I, 107, NN §§583, 584, 774, 1853A; 1741, 22-3, Knýtl 1919-25, 44-5, ÍF 35, 114-5 (ch. 13).

Context: See Context to st. 12.

Notes: [2] Skjǫldungr of renndi ‘Skjǫldungr ... ran’: Line 2 is problematic, and no ideal solution presents itself. (a) Skjǫldungr of is emended from ms. skjǫldungum (as also in Skj B; Skald; ÍF 35) in order to provide the antecedant that rel. sás ‘who’ requires. It is likely that in the process of transmission, an expletive particle um (earlier of) has been reanalysed as the dat. pl. ending of the preceding word, and final -r has been lost, giving Skjǫldungum. Skjǫldungr is a general ruler-heiti, but here and in Ótt Knútdr 10/1 may allude to Knútr’s royal Danish ancestry, and to a tradition of Danish rule in England (Frank 1994b, 110-13). Skjǫldungr is taken in apposition to Knútr (l. 4). As well as being an emendation, skjǫldungr has the drawback that it produces a metrically irregular line, whereas skjǫldungum produces a standard Type D2-line with a single word (simplex or cpd) occupying positions 1-4 (cf. Gade 1995a, 113-14). (b) To retain ms. skjǫldungum would therefore be preferable, yet it has no clear function in the helmingr. Renndi skjǫldungum ‘made princes flee’ would be possible in itself (cf. a similar statement in HSt Rst 20/5-6), but it would conflict with the stanza’s focus on a meeting of two allies; the identity of the skjǫldungar would be unclear; and renndi ‘ran, impelled’ already has a dat. object in langskipum ‘longships’. (c) Skj B’s sá skjǫldungr, es kníði ... ‘that prince who pounded ...’ entails syntactic problems (on which see NN §583; cf. §1853A) as well as the problems noted for interpretation (a). — [5-6] fyrðar … varrláð ‘men … oarstroke-land [SEA]’: (a) The ms. readings are retained here, as in ÍF 35. Fyrðar is taken with báðir, hence ‘both men’, referring to Eiríkr (the jarl) and Knútr (the hilmir ‘prince’), although fyrðar is normally used of a larger, unspecified group. Koma varrláð ‘come [across] the oarstroke-land [SEA]’ is also acceptable since the acc. object of a verb of motion may be the site of that motion (NN §584; ÍF 35, and cf. NS §96b). (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B; LP: varrláð; see also Meissner 218) emends to dýrum varrláðs ‘animals of the oarstroke-land [SEA > SHIPS]’ and translates the resulting sentence, hvor det var bægges hensigt at lande med deres skibe ‘where it was the intention of both to land with their ships’. — [7] hilmis ‘the prince’: The nom. sg. reading hilmir does not make sense as subject here, and a further gen. is clearly required by fundr hjalmaðs jarls ok ‘the meeting of the helmeted jarl and’. Hilmir is therefore emended in JÓ and all subsequent eds.

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