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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þórðr Særeksson (Sjáreksson) (ÞSjár)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

1. Þórálfs drápa Skólmssonar (Þórdr) - 4

Skj info: Þórðr Særeksson, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 327-30, BI, 302-4).

Skj poems:
1. Et digt om Klœingr Brúsason
2. Þórolfs drápa Skolmssonar
3. Róðudrápa
4. Lausavísur og ubestemmelige brudstykker

Very little is known about Þórðr Særeksson (or, in a later form, Sjáreksson) (ÞSjár). Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 257, 274, 281) lists him among the poets of Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson (r. c. 1000-c. 1014) and King Óláfr Haraldsson (S. Óláfr, d. 1030). According to ÓT (1958-2000, II, 322-3) Þórðr went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the reign of Óláfr Haraldsson, and, arriving in Syria, met Óláfr Tryggvason, who is said to have escaped from the battle of Svǫlðr (c. 1000). Óláfr greeted Þórðr warmly and sent his regards to Þórðr’s kinsman-in-law (mágr), the famous Icelander Hjalti Skeggjason. In some mss Þórðr is referred to as Svartsson or svartaskáld, probably from a misreading of his patronymic (see LH I, 603-5 and Introduction to ðudrápa (Róðdr) below). In addition to the poems edited here (Þórálfs drápa Skólmssonar (Þórdr), Flokkr about Klœingr Brúsason (Klœingr) and Róðdr), three fragments of Þórðr’s poetry are preserved in SnE and one in LaufE (ÞSjár Frag 1-4III); these fragments are edited in SkP III. Þórðr’s oeuvre presents difficulties in that the people and events commemorated there span some sixty-five years, from c. 961 (Þórdr) to c. 1026 (Róðdr), so that it must be assumed either that he was exceptionally long-lived or that Þórdr was composed after a lapse of several years or decades; see further Introduction to that poem.

LP: ÞSjár(Sær)

Þórálfs drápa Skólmssonar — ÞSjár ÞórdrI

Kari Ellen Gade 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þórðr Særeksson (Sjáreksson), Þórálfs drápa Skólmssonar’ 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. 236.

 1   2   3   4 

Skj: Þórðr Særeksson: 2. Þórolfs drápa Skolmssonar (AI, 328-9, BI, 302-3); stanzas (if different): 2 | 3 | 4

SkP info: I, 238

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — ÞSjár Þórdr 2I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Særeksson (Sjáreksson), Þórálfs drápa Skólmssonar 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. 238.

Varði varga myrðir
vítt — svá skal frið slíta —
(jǫfur vildu þann eldask)
ǫndurt folk (at lǫndum).
Starf hófsk upp, þás arfi
ótta vanr, á flótta,
golls, es gramr vas fallinn,
Gunnhildar kom sunnan.

{Myrðir varga} varði ǫndurt folk vítt; svá skal slíta frið; vildu þann jǫfur eldask at lǫndum. Starf hófsk upp, þás {arfi Gunnhildar} kom sunnan, vanr {ótta golls}, es gramr vas fallinn á flótta.

{The killer of outlaws} [JUST RULER = Hákon] defended the front of the army widely; thus one shall tear apart peace; they wanted that prince to grow old in the lands. The trouble began when {the heir of Gunnhildr} [= Haraldr gráfeldr] came from the south, bereft {of the terror of gold} [GENEROUS MAN = Gamli Eiríksson], because the ruler had fallen in flight.

Mss: (104v), F(18rb), J1ˣ(63r), J2ˣ(59r-v) (Hkr); 61(6rb), 325IX 1 a(2vb), Bb(8ra), Flat(8rb) (ÓT); FskBˣ(11v), FskAˣ(54-55) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] Varði: ‘vadi’ 325IX 1 a, Bb;    varga: víga J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 61, 325IX 1 a, Bb, Flat;    myrðir: myrðar Flat    [3] jǫfur: áðr Flat;    vildu: vilduð J1ˣ, J2ˣ, vildi 325IX 1 a, Bb, Flat;    eldask: aldir FskAˣ    [4] at: á 61, FskBˣ, af Bb    [5] hófsk: óf Flat;    þás (‘þá er’): so all others, þar er Kˣ;    arfi: arfa J1ˣ, J2ˣ    [6] vanr á: so F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 61, 325IX 1 a, Flat, FskBˣ, FskAˣ, valdi á Kˣ, vant á vant á Bb    [7] es (‘er’): so 61, 325IX 1 a, Bb, FskBˣ, FskAˣ, en Kˣ, F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, Flat;    gramr vas (‘gramr var’): fell gramr Flat;    fallinn: at gunni Flat

Editions: Skj: Þórðr Særeksson, 2. Þórolfs drápa Skolmssonar 3: AI, 328, BI, 302-3, Skald I, 154, NN §2519; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 217, ÍF 26, 191 (HákGóð ch. 31), F 1871, 83; ÓT 1958-2000, I, 45 (ch. 28), Flat 1860-8, I, 61; Fsk 1902-3, 45 (ch. 12), ÍF 29, 92 (ch. 13).

Context: Hákon charges after his fleeing enemies at the front of his troops, striking them frequently and hard, when he is shot in the arm by an arrow apparently coming out of nowhere. The sons of Eiríkr escape on their ships with Hákon’s men in hot pursuit (so Hkr, ÓT, Flat; Fsk has no prose).

Notes: [1] myrðir varga ‘the killer of outlaws [JUST RULER = Hákon]’: Skj B and Skald emend myrðir (nom.) ‘killer’ to myrði (acc.) and take the kenning as the object of the verb varði ‘defended’, hence ‘the front of the army defended the killer of outlaws widely’. That emendation is unnecessary in view of the prose context. — [2] vítt ‘widely’: The reference is presumably to Hákon moving about energetically in the van of his troops (cf. Context). — [6, 7] vanr ótta golls ‘bereft of the terror of gold [GENEROUS MAN = Gamli Eiríksson]’: (a) The kenning ótti golls ‘terror of gold [GENEROUS MAN]’ is similar to ótti fengins golls ‘the terror of seized gold [GENEROUS MAN]’ in Arn Hryn 16/1, 3II (see also LP: ótti). (b) Bjarni Aðalbjarnason (ÍF 26) also adopts the variant vanr ‘bereft of’ but reads vanr ótta á flótta golls ‘bereft of fear of the flight of gold’ (so also ÍF 29). He takes this as a reference to the generosity of Haraldr gráfeldr ‘Grey-cloak’, although, as Bjarni points out (ÍF 26, 191 n.), Haraldr was not known for his munificence (see also Eyv Lv 8-9, 11). A further objection is that the construction ótta á flótta ‘fear of the flight’ is unattested (the prep. should be at and not á; see Fritzner: ótti 1). (c) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and Kock (Skald) retain the unmetrical variant ‘valdi’ in place of vanr (l. 6). Skj B reads valdi (m. dat. sg.) ‘ruler’ and construes the unlikely kenning valdi ótta golls ‘the causer of the terror of gold [GENEROUS MAN]’ as a dat. object for the verb hefjask upp ‘begin’ (l. 5). Kock (NN §2519; Skald) takes valdi as valði/valdi, 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic. of velja ‘choose’, and suggests the following reading: ótti golls valdi á flótta ‘the terror of gold [GENEROUS MAN] chose to flee’, but the expression velja á flótta ‘choose to flee’ is attested nowhere. Furthermore, the disyllabic valdi makes l. 6 hypermetrical (elision is not possible in this position in a Type A-line), and the reading is not supported by the other ms. witnesses. — [7] gramr ‘the ruler’: The ruler fallen in flight must be the same person who is referred to as ótti golls ‘the terror of gold’ (ll. 6, 7), namely, Haraldr’s oldest and most distinguished brother, Gamli Eiríksson. Gamli had been killed when he fled from Hákon following the battle at Rastarkálfr on the island of Fræði (Frei), c. 955; see Gsind Hákdr 8, Eyv Lv 6, Glúmr Lv; ÍF 26, 179-81; ÍF 29, 81-2. — [8] Gunnhildar ‘of Gunnhildr’: Wife of Eiríkr blóðøx ‘Blood-axe’ Haraldsson; see skald Biography of Gunnhildr (Gunnh).

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