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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorkell hamarskáld (Þham)

12th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

1. Magnússdrápa (Magndr) - 5

Skj info: Þórkell hamarskáld, Islandsk skjald, omkr. 1100. (AI, 438-9, BI, 407-9).

Skj poems:
1. Magnúsdrápa
2. Lausavísur

Þorkell hamarskáld (Þham) is unknown. His nickname implies that he came from a farm called Hamarr (meaning ‘Crag’; Finnur Jónsson 1907, 246) or that he might have composed about a person with the nickname hamarr ‘Hammer’ (Lind 1920-1, 134). Þorkell must have stayed in Norway prior to 1066, because he composed a poem about Eysteinn orri ‘Black Grouse’ Þorbergsson (d. 1066) whom he seems to have known personally (Skáldatal, SnE 1848-87, III, 269, 286; Mork 1928-32, 279-80). Skáldatal also lists him among the poets of Óláfr kyrri ‘the Quiet’ Haraldsson and his son, Magnús berfœttr ‘Barelegs’ (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 275-6). We do not know whether Þorkell came from Norway or Iceland, but in a helmingr attributed to him in SnE (Skm), he speaks of a gift that a ruler had sent to him of svalan ægi ‘across the cool sea’ (Þham Frag 1/3III), which suggests that he was an Icelander. See also SnE 1848-87, III, 616-18; LH 1894-1901, II, 54-5. In addition to his drápa about Magnús berfœttr and the helmingr in SnE (edited in SkP III), one lv. by Þorkell survives (see Þham Lv below).

Magnússdrápa — Þham MagndrII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Þorkell hamarskáld, Magnússdrápa’ 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. 409-14.

 1   2   3   4   5 

Skj: Þórkell hamarskáld: 1. Magnúsdrápa, o. 1104 (AI, 438-9, BI, 407-8)

SkP info: II, 410-11

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Þham Magndr 1II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Þorkell hamarskáld, Magnússdrápa 1’ 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. 410-11.

Vítt dró sínar sveitir
saman stórhugaðr Þórir
— heldr vôrut þau hauldum
haglig rôð — með Agli.
Snǫrp frák á, þvís urpu,
endr Skjalgs vinum, lendir
menn við morðvals brynni,
mein, of afl sér steini.

Stórhugaðr Þórir dró vítt saman sveitir sínar með Agli; þau rôð vôrut heldr haglig hauldum. Frák snǫrp mein vinum Skjalgs endr á, þvís lendir menn urpu steini of afl sér við {brynni {morðvals}}.

Great-spirited Þórir gathered his companies far and wide with Egill; those ventures were not very convenient for the freeholders. I heard that great harm formerly befell Skjálgr’s friends because the district chieftains threw a stone beyond their strength against {the thirst-quencher {of the strife-falcon}} [RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR].

Mss: Mork(21r) (Mork); H(81v), Hr(57rb-va) (H-Hr); F(56vb); Kˣ(594v), 39(33vb), E(31v), J2ˣ(306r), 42ˣ(7r-v) (Hkr); FskBˣ(83v), FskAˣ(330) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] Vítt: Vítr E;    sínar sveitir: sinnar sveitar FskBˣ    [3] vôrut: vru 39, E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ, FskBˣ, FskAˣ;    þau: þá Hr    [4] með: meðr FskAˣ;    Agli: ‘Egli’ FskBˣ, ‘æghle’ FskAˣ    [5] Snǫrp: ‘snavp’ H;    þvís (‘þvi er’): því 39;    urpu: uppi FskBˣ    [6] vinum: vinir E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ    [7] við: so H, Hr, F, Kˣ, 39, E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ, FskBˣ, ‘[...]’ Mork, viðr FskAˣ;    ‑vals: ‑hauks Kˣ, E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ, ‑haugs 39, hvals FskBˣ;    brynni: brynju 42ˣ    [8] afl: alf Hr, FskBˣ, afls 42ˣ

Editions: Skj: Þórkell hamarskáld, 1. Magnúsdrápa 1: AI, 438, BI, 407-8, Skald I, 201, NN §1150; Mork 1867, 132, Mork 1928-32, 299, Andersson and Gade 2000, 286-7, 484 (Mberf); Fms 7, 5 (Mberf ch. 4); F 1871, 262 (Mberf); ÍF 28, 214 (Mberf ch. 4), E 1916, 111; ÍF 29, 303-4 (ch. 80).

Context: The uprising against Magnús in 1094, spearheaded by the district chieftains Steigar-Þórir Þórðarson, Egill Áskelsson (or Ásláksson) and Skjálgr.

Notes: [All]: For Þórir and Egill, see SteigÞ Biography and Note to Kv 1/1. Skjálgr is identified as ‘Skjálgr af Jaðri’ (‘Skjálgr from Jæren’) in Mork and Fsk (see Mork 1928-32, 299; ÍF 29, 303), which suggests that he could have been a descendant of the powerful chieftain Erlingr Skjálgsson af Sóla (d. 1028) who had a son named Skjálgr. The present Skjálgr is otherwise unknown, however, and Hkr merely calls him ‘a powerful and wealthy man’ (maðr, ríkr ok auðigr; ÍF 28, 214). — [3] hauldum ‘for the freeholders’: See Note to Anon Nkt 15/2. — [5, 8] frák snǫrp mein … endr á ‘I heard that great harm … formerly befell’: Lit. ‘I heard that great harm … [was] present for’. Á lit. ‘on’ carries alliteration (and full stress) and is therefore used adverbially here, with the suppressed verb vera ‘be’. For the verb-adv. collocation vera á ‘be present’, see Fritzner: vera á. Skj B reads frák snǫrp mein á því (‘I heard that great harm [resulted] from it’) treating á as a prep. (á því ‘from it’; so also Skald; ÍF 28; ÍF 29). That reading is unlikely, because monosyllabic proclitic prepositions do not otherwise receive full stress. — [5, 8] urpu steini of afl sér ‘threw a stone beyond their strength’: The expression ‘to throw a stone beyond one’s strength’ (i.e. ‘to take on more than one can handle’) is also found in Eg (ÍF 2, 198): at þú, Egill, munir hafa kastat steini um megn þér í yðrum skiptum ‘that you, Egill, may have thrown a stone beyond your strength as far as your dealings are concerned’. — [6-7] lendir menn ‘the district chieftains’: Lit. ‘landed men’. These were men who had been appointed by the king to serve as judicial administrators over one or more districts, men who held land in fief from the king. See also BjKálfs Lv, Anon Nkt 29 and Ólhv Hryn 2. — [6] endr ‘formerly’: Skj B takes this adv. with the second cl., which creates an awkward tripartite l. (see NN §1150). — [7] brynni morðvals ‘the thirst-quencher of the strife-falcon [RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR]’: The variant brynni morðhauks ‘the thirst-quencher of the strife-hawk’ (so , E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ) is possible and has been adopted in Skj B and Skald. But it is less preferable from a metrical point of view (heavy dip in position 4), and the other ms. witnesses show that it is a Hkr innovation.

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