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Þorbjǫrn hornklofi (Þhorn)

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

2. Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) (Harkv) - 23

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.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23 

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, 116

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

22 — Þhorn Harkv 22I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) 22’ 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. 116.

‘At leikurum ok trúðum         hef ek þik lítt fregit;
hverr es ørgáti         þeira Andaðar
        at húsum Haralds?’

‘Ek hef fregit þik lítt at leikurum ok trúðum; hverr es ørgáti þeira Andaðar at húsum Haralds?’

‘I have asked you little about jesters and jugglers; what is the hospitality for Andaðr and his fellows in Haraldr’s estate?’

Mss: 51ˣ(3r), FskBˣ(4r), 302ˣ(5v), FskAˣ(11), 52ˣ(5r), 301ˣ(4r) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] trúðum: truðu FskAˣ, 52ˣ, 301ˣ    [3] ørgáti (‘ꝍrg at i’): ‘orghari’ FskAˣ, 52ˣ, 301ˣ    [4] þeira: ‘bǽira’ FskBˣ

Editions: Skj: Þórbjǫrn hornklofi, 2. Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) 22: AI, 28, BI, 25, Skald I, 16; Fsk 1902-3, 12, ÍF 29, 64 (ch. 2); Möbius 1860, 230, Jón Helgason 1946, 140-1, Jón Helgason 1968, 20-1.

Context: In Fsk, this and the following stanza are cited in evidence that Haraldr had entertainers in his retinue.

Notes: [All]: The valkyrie poses a final question. — [3-5]: Here the metre changes from málaháttr to ljóðaháttr. — [3] Andaðar ‘for Andaðr’: Apparently the name of an entertainer who is otherwise known only from the following stanza. LP: Andaðr identifies him as German on the basis of comparison to OHG Andahad and suggests that the nom. form is more correctly Ǫnduðr. (This is the name of a giant given in Þul Jǫtna I 4/6III.) — [5] húsum ‘estate’: In the pl., hús normally designates the buildings on a farm, so the pl. here could either refer to a single farmstead or indicate that Haraldr had several houses in different parts of the country.

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated