Þorbjǫrn hornklofi (Þhorn)
9th century; volume 1; ed. R. D. Fulk;
1. Glymdrápa (Gldr) - 10
2. Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) (Harkv) - 23
3. Lausavísa (Lv) - 1
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.
Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) —
R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘ 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. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1436> (accessed 24 May 2022)
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, 97
3 — Þhorn Harkv 3I
Cite as: R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) 3’ 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. 97.
|‘Hvat es yðr, hrafnar? Hvaðan eruð ér komnir
með dreyrgu nefi at degi ǫndverðum?
|Hold loðir yðr í klóum; hræs þefr gengr ór munni; |
nær hygg ek yðr í nótt bjoggu, því es vissuð nái liggja.’
‘Hvat es yðr, hrafnar? Hvaðan eruð ér komnir með dreyrgu nefi at ǫndverðum degi? Hold loðir í klóum yðr; þefr hræs gengr ór munni; hygg ek yðr bjoggu nær í nótt, því es vissuð nái liggja.’
‘What is the matter with you, ravens? From where have you come with gory beaks at break of day? Flesh hangs from your claws; the stench of carrion comes from your mouths; I think you lodged last night near where you knew corpses were lying.’
Mss: 51ˣ(2r), FskBˣ(2r-v), 302ˣ(2v-3r), FskAˣ(7), 52ˣ(3r-v), 301ˣ(3r) (Fsk)
Readings:  dreyrgu: corrected from ‘dræygu’ 302ˣ  gengr: gengr yðr FskAˣ, 52ˣ, 301ˣ  yðr: om. FskAˣ, 52ˣ, 301ˣ; bjoggu: bjogguð FskAˣ, 52ˣ, 301ˣ  vissuð: so FskAˣ, 52ˣ, 301ˣ, vissu at 51ˣ, FskBˣ, 302ˣ; nái: nár 51ˣ, 302ˣ, FskAˣ, 52ˣ, 301ˣ, nær FskBˣ
Editions: Skj: Þórbjǫrn hornklofi, 2. Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) 3: AI, 24, BI, 22, Skald I, 14; Fsk 1902-3, 7, ÍF 29, 60 (ch. 2); Möbius 1860, 228, Jón Helgason 1946, 134-5, Jón Helgason 1968, 16.
Context: As for st. 1.
Notes: [All]: The valkyrie introduced in sts 1-2 speaks. —  hrafnar ‘ravens’: Though the next stanza refers to ‘the dark-feathered one’,
here the valkyrie addresses more than one raven. The sg. nefi ‘beak’ (l. 3) and munni ‘mouth’ (l.
6) are accordingly translated as plurals here, though the sg. need not be regarded as illogical but rather as a matter of focus. —  hygg ek yðr bjoggu ‘I think you lodged’: Lit. ‘I think you to have lodged’, an acc. with inf. construction introduced by a form of hyggja ‘think’, as also in sts 5/1 and 17/7; cf. 21/8. This is perhaps the only attestation of bjoggu, pret. inf. to búa (Sueti 1884, 24), surely a more original reading than finite bjogguð of the FskA transcripts, because it is more unusual. —  nái ‘corpses’: This slightly emended form appears in 761aˣ (on which, see Introduction). Jón Helgason (1946, 135) points out that the ‘nar’ of most of the mss could alternatively be emended to ná, to be construed as a generic (acc.) sg.