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, ‘(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, 113

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

19 — Þhorn Harkv 19I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


lemmatised words

This information has not been reviewed and should not be referred to.

andfetill (noun m.)andfetlum 19/8

andr (noun m.) [°; andrar] ‘ski...’and 19/8

4at (conj.) ‘that...’ — 19/3

3á (prep.) ‘on, at...’ — 19/1, 19/2

2berr (adj.) [°compar. -ari, superl. -astr] ‘bare...’berum 19/10 var

bærr (adj.) ‘right, appropriate ...’bærum 19/10

2er (conj.) ‘who, which, when...’es 19/11

fagrrendaðr (adj.)fagrrenduðum 19/5 var

3 (verb) [°præt. part. fáðr] ‘paint...’fôðum 19/5

feldr (noun m.) [°-ar, dat. -i; -ir] ‘cloak...’feldum 19/4

fetill (noun m.) [°dat. fatli/fetli; fetlar] ‘strap, sword-belt...’fetlum 19/8

2gerð (noun f.) ‘gear...’gerðum 19/1

grafa (verb) ‘to dig, earth, bury...’grǫfnum 19/9

2grœnn (adj.) [°superl. grǿnastr/grǿnstr] ‘green...’grœnum 19/9 var

gullbaugr (noun m.) ‘[their gold rings]...’gollbaugum 19/2

1gylla (verb) ‘gild...’gyltum 19/8

hand (noun f.) [fem noun] ‘hand; side; hand-to-hand combat...’handberum 19/10 var

handbærr (adj.)handbærum 19/10

hann (pron.) [°gen. hans, dat. honum; f. hon, gen. hennar, acc. hana] ‘he, she, it, they, them......’þeim 19/11, þeir 19/3, þeir 19/4, þeira 19/1

Haraldr (noun m.) ‘Haraldr...’ — 19/11

1hjalmr (noun m.) [°-s, dat. -i; -ar] ‘helmet...’hjǫlmum 19/9

hringofinn (adj./verb p.p.) ‘woven with rings...’hringofnum 19/7

1hringr (noun m.) [°-s, dat. -; -ar] ‘ring; sword...’hringum 19/10

hǫnd (noun f.) [°handar, dat. hendi; hendr (hendir StatPáll³ 752¹²)] ‘hand...’hand 19/10

í (prep.) ‘in, into...’ — 19/3

konungr (noun m.) [°dat. -i, -s; -ar] ‘king...’konung 19/3

kunnleikr (noun m.) ‘[friendly terms]...’kunnleikum 19/3

3ok (conj.) ‘and, but; also...’ — 19/2, 19/5 var, 19/9

rauðr (adj.) [°compar. -ari] ‘red...’rauðum 19/4

ráða (verb) ‘advise, rule, interpret, decide...’ — 19/4

rǫnd (noun f.) [°dat. -/-u; rendr/randir] ‘shield, shield-rim...’rǫndum 19/5

2serkr (noun m.) [°; gen. -ja] ‘Saracen...’serkjum 19/7

silfrvafiðr (adj./verb p.p.) ‘wrapped with silver wires...’silfrvǫfðum 19/6

2sjá (verb) ‘see...’sér 19/1

skjǫldr (noun m.) [°skjaldar/skildar, dat. skildi; skildir, acc. skjǫldu] ‘shield...’skjǫldum 19/4 var

sverð (noun n.) [°-s; -] ‘sword...’sverðum 19/6

vel (adv.) ‘well, very...’ — 19/5 var

velja (verb) ‘choose...’valði 19/11

2vera (verb) ‘be, is, was, were, are, am...’eru 19/3

2við (prep.) ‘with, against...’ — 19/3

unlemmatised variants — an (19); ann (19); georðum (19); óskjǫldum (19); vðum (19)


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