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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorleikr fagri (Þfagr)

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

Flokkr about Sveinn Úlfsson (Sveinn) - 10

Skj info: Þórleikr fagri, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 396-9, BI, 365-8).

Skj poems:
En flokk om Sven Ulfssön
En flokk om Sven Ulfssön 11-13

Þorleikr’s background is unknown. In 1051 he travelled from Iceland via Norway to Denmark to present a poem to Sveinn Úlfsson (ÍF 28, 113; ÍF 29, 253; Mork 1928-32, 161; Flat 1860-8, III, 338; Fms 6, 256). Both his name and his nickname fagri ‘the Fair’ indicate that he may have come from the family of the Laxdœlir (see Genealogy IIIa in ÍF 5; SnE 1848-87, III, 737-9; LH 1894-1901, I, 641-2). Þorleikr was a rather common name among the Laxdœlir (e.g. Þorleikr Hǫskuldsson and Þorleikr Bollason), and members of that family, such as Hǫskuldr Dala-Kollsson, Óláfr pá ‘Peacock’ Hǫskuldsson and Hallgerðr Hǫskuldsdóttir, were admired for their beauty (see ÍF 5, 14, 27; ÍF 12, 6-7). Þorleikr is listed in Skáldatal as one of the poets who eulogised Sveinn Úlfsson, and it is not said that he composed about any other dignitary or ruler (see SnE 1848-87, III, 258, 267, 283).

Flokkr about Sveinn Úlfsson — Þfagr SveinnII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Þorleikr fagri, Flokkr about Sveinn Úlfsson’ 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. 313-22.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10 

Skj: Þórleikr fagri: En flokk om Sven Ulfssön, 1051 (AI, 396-9, BI, 365-8); stanzas (if different): 11 | 12 | 13

SkP info: II, 319

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

7 — Þfagr Sveinn 7II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Þorleikr fagri, Flokkr about Sveinn Úlfsson 7’ 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. 319.

Bauð, sás beztrar tíðar
borinn varð und miðgarði,
ríkri þjóð at rjóða
randir Sveinn á landi.
Þó lézk heldr, ef heldi
hvatráðr konungr láði,
á byrjar Val berjask
bilstyggr Haraldr vilja.

Sveinn, sás varð borinn beztrar tíðar und miðgarði, bauð ríkri þjóð at rjóða randir á landi. Þó lézk bilstyggr Haraldr heldr vilja berjask á {Val byrjar}, ef hvatráðr konungr heldi láði.

Sveinn, who was born at the luckiest time on earth, told the powerful people to redden shield-rims ashore. Yet hesitation-shy Haraldr said he preferred to fight on {the Valr <horse> of fair wind} [SHIP], if the quick-witted king withheld land [from him].

Mss: Mork(9v) (Mork); Flat(198ra) (Flat); H(45v), Hr(32vb) (H-Hr); FskBˣ(72r), FskAˣ(268) (Fsk); Kˣ(543v), 39(23vb), F(46ra), E(16r), J2ˣ(271r-v) (Hkr)

Readings: [1] tíðar: so all others, tírar Mork    [2] und: ‘vnn’ Flat, ‘uns i’ FskBˣ;    ‑garði: garð FskAˣ    [3] rjóða: ráða Flat    [5] ef: so H, Hr, FskBˣ, FskAˣ, Kˣ, 39, F, E, J2ˣ, at Mork, Flat;    heldi: hildi Flat    [6] konungr: om. Flat    [7] byrjar: byrja 39    [8] ‑styggr: ‑trauðr FskBˣ, FskAˣ

Editions: Skj: Þórleikr fagri, En flokk om Sven Ulfssön 7: AI, 398, BI, 367, Skald I, 183; Mork 1867, 57, Mork 1928-32, 165-6, Andersson and Gade 2000, 201, 476 (MH); Flat 1860-8, III, 341 (MH); Fms 6, 261 (HSig ch. 51); ÍF 29, 258 (ch. 55); ÍF 28, 116 (HSig ch. 35), F 1871, 213-14, E 1916, 56-7.

Context: On his way north after having laid waste to Hedeby, Haraldr encountered Sveinn. Sveinn dared Haraldr to fight him on land, but Haraldr refused and challenged Sveinn to a naval battle.

Notes: [All]: Mork and Flat attribute the st. to Þjóðólfr (Arnórsson; ÞjóðA). — [2] und miðgarði ‘on earth’: Lit. ‘within the middle enclosure’. The prep. und usually denotes a spatial relation ‘under’, either in the sense ‘beneath’ or ‘next to something that towers above’ (see Fritzner: und; LP: und). The phrase und miðgarði ‘within the middle enclosure’ is used regularly in both prose and poetry for ‘on earth’ (see Fritzner: miðgarðr 3; LP: Miðgarðr). Miðgarðr was the mythical stronghold built for men, protecting them from the giants. The use of und ‘beneath’ in this context must have originated in the idea that people lived next to the towering rampart which enclosed Miðgarðr. — [7] Val ‘the Valr <horse>’: See Note to Arn Hryn 19/4. — [8] bilstyggr (m. nom. sg.) ‘hesitation-shy’: Biltrauðr ‘hesitation-reluctant’ (so Fsk) is equally possible, but the ms. witnesses show that it is secondary.

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