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.

notes
my abbr.

Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) — Þhorn HarkvI

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) 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.

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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, 110

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

16 — Þhorn Harkv 16I

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.

 51x Miok ero ro᷎yfðir | rogbirtingar | þæir er i Harallz tuni | hunum værpa. | i fe i fe ero þess beðner | oc fagrum mæcom | malme hunlenzkum | oc mane aust ro᷎no |   [RDF]  edit 
 FskBx Miok ero rꝍ⸌y⸍fðir | rogbirtingar | þæir er i Harallz tuni | hunum værpa | i fe ero þess beðner | oc fagrum mæcom | malme hunlenzkum | oc mane austrꝍno |   [RDF]  edit 
 302x Miok ero ro᷎yfðir | rogbirtingar . | þæir er i Harallz tuni | hunum værpa . | i fe ero þess beðner | oc fagrum mæcom (mæcom) | malme hunlenzkum | oc mane austro᷎no |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 FskAx miok ero rꝍyfðir || roghbirtingar | þeirs i Haraldz tuni | hunum verpa | Ufe ero þeir gꝍddir | oc foghrum mætom (mæcom) | malme hunlenzskum | oc mani austrænu |   [RDF]  edit 
 52x mioc ero rꝍyfþir | roghbirtingar | þeirs i Haraldz tuni | hunum verpa | Ufe ero þeir gꝍddir | oc foghrum mæcom | malme hunlenzcom | oc mane oustrænu |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 301x Miok ero tꝍyfðir rogh | birtingar , þeirs i Haralz tuni hunum verpa II fe | ero þeir gꝍddir oc foghrum mætom , malme hunlen | zskom oc mani ꜹstrænu .   [VEÞ]  edit 

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