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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, ‘(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, 115

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

21 — Þhorn Harkv 21I

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 Ulfheðnar hæita | þæir er i orrastu | bloðgar rander bera | vigrar rioða | er til vigs coma | þæim er þar sist saman | Arǽðes monnum æinum | hygg ec þar undir felaz | skyli sa en skilvisi | þæim er i skiolld hoggva |   [RDF]  edit 
 FskBx Vlf heðnar hæita | þæir er i orrastu bloðgar || rander bera | vigrar rioða | er til vigs koma | þæim er þar sist saman | Aræðismonnum æinum | hygg ek þar undir felaz | skyli sa en skilvisi þo | þæim er i skiolld hoggva |   [RDF]  edit 
 302x Ulf heðnar hæita | þæir er i orrastu | bloðgar rander bera | vigrar rioða | er til vigs coma | þæim er þar sist saman | Aræðes monnum æinum | hygg ec þar undir felaz | skyli sa en skilvisi | þæim er i skiolld hoggva . |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 FskAx Ulfheðnar þeir heita | er i orrostom | bloðgar randir bera | vighr rioda | þa er til vighs koma | þeim er þar sist saman | Aræðismonnum einum | hyɢ ek þar undir felaz | skyle sa hinn skilvisi | þeim er i skiold hoɢva |   [RDF]  edit 
 52x Ulfheðnar þeir heita | er i oʀostom | bloþgar randir bera | vighr rioða | (þa) þar er til vigs koma | þeim er þar sizt saman | Aræðis monnom einom | hyɢ ec þar undir felaz | scyle sa hinn scilvise | þeim er i sciold hoɢva |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 301x Ulfheðnar þeir heita er i | oʀostom bloðgar randir bera vighr rioða þa er til | vighs coma , þeim er þar sist saman , Aræðis monnum | einum hygg ec þar undir felaz skyli , sa hinn skil | visi , þeim er i skiolld hoɢva . |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Flat Vlf hednar hæíta þeir er j orrostu blod | gar randir bera vígr at ʀioda er til vígs koma þeim er þar syst saman | Arædis monnum eínum hygg ek þar hæfa at standa þaer skatnar skiluisir | j skiolld ho᷎ggua·   [RDF]  edit 

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