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, 111

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

17 — Þhorn Harkv 17I

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 Þa ero þæir ræifir | er vitu romo væne | orvir upp at laupa | oc arar at svægia | ho᷎mlur at briota | en hae slita | ræikulega hygg ec þa | vorru þo᷎ysa at visa raðe. |   [RDF]  edit 
 FskBx Ða ero þæir ræífir | er vita romo væne | orpir upp at laupa | oc arar at svægia | homlur at briota | enn hae slita | ræikulega hygg ek þa vorru þꝍysa | at visa raðe |   [RDF]  edit 
 302x Þa ero þæir ræifir | er vitu romo væne | orvir upp at laupa | oc arar at svægia | ho᷎mlur at briota | en hae slita | ræiku(ku) lega hygg ec þa | vorru þo᷎ysa . at visa raðe . |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 FskAx Þa ero þeir reivir | er vito romo væne | orvir up at loupa | oc arar at sveighia | homlr at briota | en hai at slita | rikulegha hyɢ ec þa | vorru þꝍysa at visa raðe |   [RDF]  edit 
 52x Þa ero þeir reivir | er vito romu væni | orvir up at loupa | oc arar at sveighia | homlr at briota | enn hai at slita | rikuligha hyɢ ec þa | voʀu þꝍysa at visa raðe |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 301x Ða ero þeir reivir er | vito romo væne , orvir upp at loupa oc arar at | sveghia , homlr at briota enn hai at slita riku | legha hyɢ ec þa vorru þeysa at visa raðe . |   [VEÞ]  edit 

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