Þjóðólfr Arnórsson (ÞjóðA)
11th century; volume 2; ed. Diana Whaley;
1. Magnússflokkr (Magnfl) - 19
2. Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi (Magn) - 14
3. Runhent poem about Haraldr (Run) - 4
4. Sexstefja (Sex) - 32
5. Stanzas about Haraldr Sigurðarson’s leiðangr (Har) - 7
6. Fragments (Frag) - 5
7. Lausavísur (Lv) - 11
Þjóðólfr Arnórsson (ÞjóðA) is listed in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262) among the poets of Magnús inn góði ‘the Good’ Óláfsson and Haraldr harðráði ‘Hard-rule’ Sigurðarson, and virtually all his extant poetry seems to have been composed in honour of them, or in association with them; hence it dates from the period 1035-1066. The text of Skáldatal in AM 761 a 4°ˣ (SnE 1848-87, III, 259) also credits Þjóðólfr with poetry for Haraldr Þorkelsson, son of Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’ and one of the Dan. magnates present in Norway during the reign of Sveinn Álfífuson (1030-35). No identifiable fragments of this remain, but if true the tradition would suggest that Þjóðólfr was born not much later than 1010. Hemings þáttr Áslákssonar (Hem) has him die at the battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066, and there is no record of him after that date, though Lv 11 has the air of being composed after the battle. Þjóðólfr was, according to Skáldatal and Fsk (ÍF 29, 245), the brother of another skald, Bǫlverkr Arnórsson (Bǫlv), and according to Sneglu-Halla þáttr (Snegl) in Flat (1860-8, III, 415), was from an undistinguished family in Svarfaðardalur, northern Iceland. The same þáttr (p. 421) names his father not as Arnórr but as Þorljótr, in the context of a scurrilous anecdote told against Þjóðólfr by Sneglu-Halli (SnH), who also taunts him with having composed the otherwise unknown Sorptrogsvísur ‘Dustbin Vísur’. The þáttr nevertheless describes him as accomplished (menntr vel) and courteous (kurteis maðr), highly favoured by King Haraldr and chief of his poets (haufutskꜳlld sitt, p. 415). Þjóðólfr’s poetry, rich in allusion and imagery, has continued to be widely admired, and it gains colour and vigour from the fact that he participated in many of the campaigns he depicts. It undoubtedly also reflects the fact that he was one of an exceptional circle of poets patronised by Haraldr (see Turville-Petre 1968), and much of his poetry shares topics and imagery with that of his contemporary Arnórr jarlaskáld (Arn), though there is no account of the dealings between these two. Þjóðólfr figures in several anecdotes centring on poetic composition: see Contexts to Lv 2-6, though we have no way of knowing whether he was so touchy about his reputation as the Context to Lv 4, and Snegl, would suggest; he also features as a go-between figure in Brands þáttr ǫrva, which cites no poetry. For brief biographies of Þjóðólfr see, e.g. SnE 1848-87, III, 578-9; LH 1894-1901, I, 627-32; Hollander 1945, 189-96.
In addition to the works edited here as Þjóðólfr’s, there have been further attributions to him. Þfagr Sveinn 7 is attributed to Þjóðólfr in Mork (1928-32, 165-6) and Flat (1860-8, III, 341), but to Þorleikr fagri in other sources; ÞKolb Eirdr 17I is attributed to Þjóðólfr in the U ms. alone, and Þfisk Lv 3 is attributed to him in F. Further, Flat, by citing Okík Magn 1 after ÞjóðA Magnfl 18 without announcing a change of skald implicitly assigns the latter to Þjóðólfr. We might perhaps also imagine Þjóðólfr having a hand in Anon (HSig) 2, the st. collaboratively composed by Haraldr’s men. A further set of six sts presented are anonymous in the medieval sources but are presented in this edn as Halli XI Fl (for reasons explained in Halli Biography below). These are printed among Þjóðólfr’s works in CPB II, 210-11 and listed under his name in SnE 1848-87, III, 583-4; Poole also finds ‘the ascription to Þjóðólfr Arnórsson … tempting, on stylistic grounds’ (1991, 75).
Preserved mainly in the kings’ sagas, above all in Hkr, Þjóðólfr’s oeuvre presents exceptional problems of reconstruction, which are discussed at some length in the Introductions to the individual poems or sets of sts. The chief problem is that Þjóðólfr certainly composed a major dróttkvætt poem for each of his patrons Magnús (Magnússflokkr, Magnfl) and Haraldr (Sexstefja, Sex), but that in each case there is also a set of sts that may or may not belong in the main encomium. The decision has been taken here to print them separately: fourteen sts depicting the aftermaths of Magnús’s major battles at Århus (Áróss) and Helgenæs (Helganes) are presented as ‘Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi’ (Magn), and seven describing the launch of Haraldr’s great levied fleet from Nidelven (the river Nið) as ‘Stanzas about Haraldr Sigurðarson’s leiðangr’ (Har). As a reference aid, the arrangement of Þjóðólfr’s oeuvre in SkP and Skj is shown here.
|15||Náði jarl at eyða ||19|
|16||Rǫnn lézt, ræsir Þrœnda,||20|
|17||Hizig laut, es heitir ||21|
|18||Flýði jarl af auðu, ||22|
|19||Háðisk heilli góðu||25|
Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi (ÞjóðA Magn)
|1||Hrauð leifs mǫgr áðan ||Magnfl 15|
|2||Misst hafa Sveins at sýnu, ||Magnfl 16|
|3||Gær sák grjóti stóru ||Lv 1|
|4||Spurði einu orði ||Magnfl 17|
|5||Saurstokkinn bar svíra ||Magnfl 18|
|6||Hrindr af hrókalandi ||Lv 2|
|7||Menn eigu þess minnask, ||Lv 3|
|8||Skjǫld bark heim frá hjaldri ||Magnfl 23|
|9||Bauð leifs sonr áðan ||Magnfl 24|
|10||Nú taka Norðmenn knýja,||Lv 4|
|11||Brum jǫrn at œrnu||Lv 5|
|12||Svíðr of seggja búðir||Lv 6|
|13||Fjǫrð lét fylkir verða||Lv 7|
|14||Ek hef ekki at drekka||Lv 8|
Runhent poem about Haraldr (ÞjóðA Run)
|6||Þjóð veit, at hefr háðar||7|
|7||Stólþengils lét stinga||6|
|8||Ok hertoga hneykir||25|
|9||Reist eikikjǫlr austan||8|
|10||Vatn lézt, vísi, slitna,||9|
|11||Gegn skyli herr, sem hugnar||10|
|12||Frn hefr sveit við Sveini||11|
|13||Lét vingjafa veitir||12|
|14||Fast bað fylking hrausta||13|
|15||Alm dró upplenzkr hilmir||14|
|16||Flest vas hirð, sús hraustum||15|
|17||Sogns kvðu gram gegnan||16|
|18||Sveinn át sigr at launa||17|
|19||Nús of verk, þaus vísi,||18|
|20||Létu lystir sleitu||19|
|21||Tók Holmbúa hneykir||20|
|22||Gagn brann greypra þegna; ||21|
|23||Fœrði fylkir Hǫrða,||22|
|24||Áræðis naut eyðir||23|
|25||Refsir reyndan ofsa||24|
|26||Mǫrk lét veitt fyr verka||26|
|27||Ǫrð sær Yrsu burðar||27|
|28||Lét hræteina hveiti||32|
|29||Blóðorra lætr barri||30a|
|30||Geirs oddum lætr greddir||30b|
|31||Gera vas gisting byrjuð||29|
|32||Hár skyli hirðar stjóri||35|
Stanzas about Haraldr Sigurðarson’s leiðangr (ÞjóðA Har)
|1||Skeið sák framm at flœði, ||Lv 18|
|2||Slyngr laugardag lǫngu ||Lv 19|
|3||Rétt kann rœði slíta ||Lv 20|
|4||Sorgar veit, áðr slíti ||Lv 21|
|5||Eigu skjól und skógi ||Lv 22|
|6||Hléseyjar lemr hvan ||Lv 23|
|7||Haraldr þeysti nú hraustla ||Lv 24|
|1|| Nús valmeiðum víðis||Lv 9|
|2||Jarl/Ǫrr lætr, odda skúrar ||Sex 28|
|3||Ganga él of Yngva ||Sex 31|
|4||Snart við sæþráð kyrtat ||Sex 33|
|5||Útan bindr við enda ||Sex 34|
|1||Leiða langar dauða ||Lv 10 |
|2||Sumar annat skal sunnar ||Lv 11|
|3||[Logit hefr Baldr at Baldri]|
|4||Mildingr rauð í móðu ||Lv 13|
|5||Varp ór þrætu þorpi ||Lv 14|
|6||Sigurðr eggjaði sleggju|| Lv 15|
|7||Haddan skall, en Halli ||Lv 16|
|8||Út stendr undan báti ||Lv 17|
|9||Ǫld es, sús jarli skyldi ||Lv 25|
|10||Skalka frá, þótt fylkir ||Lv 26|
|11||Ǫld hefr afráð goldit ||Lv 27|
Reconstructions of the Þjóðólfr corpus are offered by Finnur Jónsson in SnE 1848-87, III, 579-90, which is the basis (almost unchanged) for Skj (AI, 361-83, BI, 332-53), and the Skj ordering is retained in Skald (I, 168-77); other major contributions are by Guðbrandur Vigfússon in CPB (II, 198-212) and by Fidjestøl (1982, 133-43, 172).
The principal eds consulted in the course of re-editing Þjóðólfr’s poetry for SkP are listed for each st., and are of two main types: eds of the skaldic corpus (Finnur Jónsson’s in Skj AI, 361-83; BI, 332-53 and Ernst Albin Kock’s in Skald I, 168-77, supported by numerous NN) and eds of the various prose works in which the poetry is preserved. Extracts are also included in anthologies, articles and other works including (with ten or more sts): CPB II, 198-212; Kock and Meissner 1931, I, 57-60; Hollander 1945,190-6 (annotated translations only), Poole 1991, 59-63; and (with seven sts) Turville-Petre 1976, 97-102. Such works as these, together with others containing comment on the poetry, are cited as appropriate in the Notes.
Diana Whaley 2009, ‘ Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Magnússflokkr’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 61-87. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1443> (accessed 28 October 2021)
Skj: Þjóðolfr Arnórsson: 1. Magnúsflokkr, omtr. 1045 (AI, 361-8, BI, 332-8); stanzas (if different): 15 |
SkP info: II, 75-6
10 — ÞjóðA Magnfl 10II
Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Magnússflokkr 10’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 75-6.
|Bôru bǫslar fleiri
bogmenn at hǫr tognum;
mundit þann dag Þrœndi
þreyta fyrr at skeytum.
|Svá þykkt flugu síðan |
snœridǫrr of skœru
— ótt vas ǫrdrif látit —
illa sátt á milli.
Bogmenn bôru fleiri bǫslar at tognum hǫr; þann dag mundit Þrœndi þreyta fyrr at skeytum. Síðan flugu snœridǫrr of skœru svá þykkt, sátt illa á milli; ótt ǫrdrif vas látit.
Bowmen placed more arrows on the drawn bowstring; that day the Þrœndir would not be the first to let up with their missiles. Then the thonged javelins flew over the fight so densely [that] you could hardly see between them; a raging arrow-drift was sent.
Mss: Kˣ(513v-514r), papp18ˣ(219v), 39(17ra), F(40va), E(8r), J2ˣ(251v-252r) (Hkr); H(11r), Hr(10rb) (H-Hr)
Readings:  Bôru: so all others, Brut Kˣ, papp18ˣ; bǫslar (‘bꜹslar’): ‘baugl a’ 39, ‘bꜹsl a’ F, bǫsla E, J2ˣ  bog‑: so papp18ˣ, F, E, J2ˣ, H, Hr, ‘bꜹr‑’ Kˣ, baug 39; hǫr tognum (‘hꜹr tognom’): ‘haur taugnum’ 39, ‘híor tognom’ F, ‘haur tǫgnum’ E, ‘hiǫrtogni’ H, ‘hiortogni’ Hr  Þrœndi: ‘þrendir’ J2ˣ  þykkt: ‘þyst’ F, ‘þygt’ E  of (‘um’): ‘ǫf’ E, of corrected from ‘oc’ J2ˣ; skœru: so F, H, Hr, ‘scꜹro’ Kˣ, ‘scǫro’ papp18ˣ, ‘skero’ 39, ‘skærur’ E, ‘skorur’ J2ˣ  vas (‘var’): varð H; ǫrdrif: ‘aurfð’ E  á: so all others, í Kˣ, papp18ˣ
Editions: Skj: Þjóðolfr Arnórsson, 1. Magnúsflokkr 10: AI, 363-4, BI, 334, Skald I, 169, NN §2525; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 55, IV, 196, ÍF 28, 49, Hkr 1991, 588 (Mgóð ch. 30), F 1871, 186, E 1916, 27; Fms 6, 77 (Mgóð ch. 38), Fms 12, 134.
Context: The st. follows st. 9, with only a brief connecting phrase in H-Hr and none in Hkr.
Notes:  bôru fleiri ‘placed more (arrows)’: (a) This, the majority reading, leaves the comp. fleiri ‘more’ without an object of comparison, but the sense could be ‘kept on placing’ (as assumed in ÍF 28, which prefers this reading, and in Hkr 1991). This fits well with the statement about the persistence of the Þrœndir in ll. 3-4. (b) The negative bru-(a)t ‘have not placed’, found only in the K transcriptions, yields a suitably hyperbolical claim, ‘have not [ever] placed (more arrows)’ or the cl. could be interpreted, as by ÍF 28, as meaning ‘they did not place (arrows) for a second time’, i.e. they were victorious in the first onslaught. Hkr 1893-1901 has 2nd pl. pret. bruð bǫslar ... bogmenn in the text, III, 55, but the negative brut in IV, 96, giving the sense ‘bowmen have never placed more arrows’. —  bǫslar ‘arrows’: This appears to be the sole instance of bǫsl f. outside the þulur (LP), and the etymology is uncertain (AEW), but the context clearly refers to arrows; see Falk 1914, 99-100. —  bogmenn ‘bowmen’: The Kˣ reading ‘bꜹr-’ is presumably influenced by ‘hꜹr’ (normalised hǫr) later in the l. —  þreyta ‘let up’: The verb normally has the sense ‘strive hard, contend’, while the sense ‘drive to exhaustion’ is usually found in ON only in the passive (adjectival p. p. þreyttr ‘exhausted’). However, Fritzner: þreyta 5 cites þreyttust öflin af mœðinni ‘their strength gave out through weariness’ from Breta sǫgur, which comes close to the present usage. It seems likely that the meaning, and the impersonal usage, in the Þjóðólfr context are influenced by þrjóta ‘fail, end, give out’, of which þreyta is the causative counterpart. —  svá ‘so [that]’: It is assumed here that svá functions like svá at / svát, introducing the result cl. sátt illa á milli ‘you could hardly see between them’. The construction could instead be of two main clauses, with svá in elliptical and intensifying role (Fritzner: svá 5c): Síðan flugu snœridǫrr … svá þykkt; sátt illa á milli ‘Then the thronged javelins flew very densely; you could hardly see between them’. —  snœridǫrr ‘thonged javelins’: Another unique piece of ‘weapon’ terminology (cf. st. 9/1 and Note), but a cpd containing darr n. ‘spear’, and clear in meaning since snœri n. is a (twisted) cord or thong, and Þjóðólfr portrays Magnús holding many a spear by the snœri in st. 17; see also Falk 1914, 87. —  ótt ǫrdrif vas látit ‘a raging arrow-drift was sent’: A contextual translation, but not unreasonable. Kock proposed taking látit as ‘they said that’ (NN §2525), though his suggested parallel is not close. There seems to be a similar conception behind Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson’s translation in ÍF 28, örvum þótti ört drífa ‘the arrows seemed / were thought to be driven furiously’ (Hkr 1991 similar). —  á milli ‘between’: This is the majority reading, also preferred in ÍF 28 and Hkr 1991 over í milli, found only in the K transcripts Kˣ and papp 18ˣ. Since the prep. á / í is metrically unstressed, there is no other evidence to show which is the original. The earlier form of milli was miðli; the rhyme here on illa proves that assimilation of ðl > ll was well advanced by this date (cf. Finnur Jónsson 1901, 122).