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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorbjǫrn hornklofi (Þhorn)

9th century; volume 1; ed. R. D. Fulk;

2. Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) (Harkv) - 23

Skj info: Þórbjǫrn hornklofi, Norsk skjald; omkr. 900. (AI, 22-29, BI, 20-26).

Skj poems:
1. Glymdrápa
2. Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál)
3. Lausavísa

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.

my abbr.

Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) — Þhorn HarkvI

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘ Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál)’ 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. 91. <> (accessed 18 May 2022)

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Skj: Þórbjǫrn hornklofi: 2. Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál), Flere af de herhenhørende vers tillægges i forskellige håndskrifter Tjodolf hvinverske. (AI, 24-9, BI, 22-5)

SkP info: I, 106

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

11 — Þhorn Harkv 11I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Note: The following transcriptions have been entered to aid the editing process. These may not have been fully reviewed and checked and may therefore not be reliable. You may wish to consult the manuscript images. Any corrections can be notified to the database editor.

 Kx A baki léto blíca | barþir voro grioti | svafnis salnæfrar | seɢir hyɢiando | ǫstuz ꜹstkylpvr | ok vm jaðar hliopo | heim or hafrs fyrþi | ok hugðo a mioð dryckio. ||   [RDF]  edit 
 F A baki leto bli | kía barðir voro gríotí svꜹlnis salnø̨frar seɢir hyɢíanndi. ø̨stuz | ꜹðkylfor ok of iaþar liopv heim or hafrs fírði ok hvgðo a m | ioð drykkío· |   [RDF]  edit 
 J1x a baki leitu blikia barþir voro grioti svafnis svalnæf | rar seggir hygianði æstiz ꜹstr kylfvr ok of iadar hl | iopu heim or hafrs firþi ok hugðo a mioð drykio +o |   [RDF]  edit 
 J2x A baki letu blikia | barþir voru grioti | svafnis salnæfrar | seɢir hyɢiande | æstiz ꜹstr kylfr | oc of jaðar liopu | heim or Hafrsfyrðe | oc hugþo a mioð dryckio |   [RDF]  edit 
 51x a bake leto blikia | barðer varo griote | svafnis salnæfrar | sæggir hyggiendi. | Ostoz aust kylgur | oc um iaðar liopo. || hæím or hafrs firði | oc hugðu a miaðar drykkiu. |   [RDF]  edit 
 FskBx A bake leto blikia . | barðir varo griote || svafnis salnæfrar | sæggir hyggiendi | Ꝍstoz austkylgur | oc um jaðar liopo | hæim or hafrs firði | oc hugðu a miaðar drikkiu |   [RDF]  edit 
 302x a bake leto blikia | barðer varo griote | svafnis salnæfrar | sæggir hyggiendi. | Ostoz austkylgur | oc um iaðar liopo. | hæím or hafrs firði | oc hugðu a miaðar drykkiu. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 FskAx A bake leto blikia | barðer varo grioti | svafins sal næfrar | segger hyɢendi | Ꝍstoz aust kylvur | oc of iaðar liupu | heim or hafrsfirði | oc hugðu a miod dryckiu |   [RDF]  edit 
 52x A baki leto blikia | barðir varo grioti | svafnis salnæfrar | seɢir hyɢendi | ꝍstoz ꜹst kylvur | oc of jaðar liupu | heim or Hafrsfyrðe | oc hughðu a mioðdryckio |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 301x A bake letu | blikia barðir varo grioti , svafnis salnæfrar seggir hi | ggende , ꝍstoz austkylvur , oc of jaðar liupu , heim or | hafrsfyrðe oc hugðu a mioð dryckiu .   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Flat Abake letu blika bardir voru griote | suafnís salnæfrar segger hyggiande æstuzst austr um iadar by | gder hlupu heim ór hafrs firde ok hugdu amíod drykkíu·   [RDF]  edit 
 R Abaki letv blikia barþir voro grioti svafnis salnefrar | seggir hyɢiandi.   [RDF]  edit 
 Tx A baki letu blikia bardir voro gríoti suafnis sualnefiar seggir hygg- | iandu.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 W A baki letu blikia barðir vorv griotí suafnis salnæfrar | seggir hyggiandi.   [RDF]  edit 
 U A baki leto blikia barþir voro grioti Svolnis salnæfrar | segir hyɢiandi,   [VEÞ]  edit 

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