Þorbjǫrn hornklofi (Þhorn)
9th century; volume 1; ed. R. D. Fulk;
1. Glymdrápa (Gldr) - 10
2. Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) (Harkv) - 23
3. Lausavísa (Lv) - 1
Little is known about the Norwegian Þorbjǫrn hornklofi ‘Horn-cleaver (?)’. Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 273) names him as a poet of Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ (r. c. 860-c. 932). Judging from Fsk (ÍF 29, 59), he seems to have spent his whole life at the court of this king. Þorbjǫrn is the composer of two poems about Haraldr, Glymdrápa (Þhorn Gldr) and Haraldskvæði (Þhorn Harkv). Skálda saga, an anecdote about skalds preserved in Hb, and hardly likely to be historical, depicts him as one of three skalds, the other two being Auðunn illskælda ‘Bad-poet’ and Ǫlvir hnúfa ‘Snub-nose (?)’, each of whom attempts a romantic encounter with the same rich widow and then bemoans his failure in a lausavísa (see Auðunn Lv 2, Þhorn Lv, Ǫlv Lv 2). The three skalds are also named in Egils saga (ÍF 2, 19) as Haraldr’s favourites. They occupy places of honour in his hall, with Þorbjǫrn between the other two.
In the prose sources Þorbjǫrn is predominantly referred to only by his nickname Hornklofi. To date there is no satisfying explanation of this word. It is attested in the Þulur as a raven-heiti (see Þul Hrafns 1/5III and Note), but it does not occur in that sense in the surviving body of skaldic poetry. Scholars have claimed that the nickname refers to Þorbjǫrn’s device, in Þhorn Harkv, of having a raven speak in his stead (SnE 1848-87, III, 408; ÍF 26, 101 n. 1). Fidjestøl (1991, 126) is, however, justified in doubting this interpretation. An alternative possibility would be to link the nickname to Egill Hfl 16/6-7V (Eg 49): en jǫfurr heldr lǫndum hornklofi ‘and the ruler holds his lands by a hornklof’. But hornklofi here must be the dative of neuter hornklof, whereas Þorbjǫrn’s nickname is a masculine n-stem, and unfortunately the meaning of this passage is obscure, though hornklof seems to be some kind of tool.
Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Glymdrápa’ 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. 73.
for reference only: 4x
Skj: Þórbjǫrn hornklofi: 1. Glymdrápa (AI, 22-4, BI, 20-1); stanzas (if different): 3, 4/1-4 |
SkP info: I, 90
9 — Þhorn Gldr 9I
Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Glymdrápa 9’ 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. 90.
In HarHárf in Flat these four lines comprise the first helmingr of a stanza of which the second helmingr is ll. 1-4 of st. 5. The stanza appears following st. 3; see Context to st. 3.
notes: The content of the stanza, praise addressed directly to the king, differs from that of other stanzas of Gldr. It may be the stef ‘refrain’ of the drápa (Vogt 1930a, 172; Engster 1983, 204; Naumann 1998, 239), or it may be a grand finale as in Skj, Skald and this edn (on this see Holtsmark 1927, 53). Fidjestøl (1982, 191) also considers whether the stanza might properly appear at the beginning and offers Arn Hryn 3II for comparison. This is unlikely, however, because the stanza lacks the typical motifs of introductory stanzas, such as a call for a hearing or an announcement of a poem.
texts: ‹HarHárf 7›,
editions: Skj Þórbjǫrn hornklofi: 1. Glymdrápa 9 (AI, 24; BI, 21);
Skald I, 13, NN §§1022, 1575; Fms 10, 187, Fms 12, 225, Flat 1860-8, I, 572 (HarHárf).