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.
Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi —
Diana Whaley 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi’ 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. 88-103.
Skj: Þjóðolfr Arnórsson: (AI, 361-8, BI, 332-8)
SkP info: II, 90-1
3 — ÞjóðA Magn 3II
Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi 3’ 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. 90-1.
|Gær sák grjóti stóru
— gein hauss fyrir — steini
— fóra fylking þeira
fast — harðliga kastat.
|Ofan keyrðum vér — orðum |
jǫrð muna Sveinn of varða —
(staðar hefr stafn í miðju)
strandhǫgg (numit landi).
Gær sák stóru grjóti, steini, kastat harðliga; hauss gein fyrir; fylking þeira fóra fast. Vér keyrðum strandhǫgg ofan; Sveinn muna of varða jǫrð orðum; stafn hefr numit staðar í miðju landi.
Yesterday I saw massive stones, rock, hurled mightily; a skull gaped in their path; their troop did not advance strongly. We herded cattle for slaughter down to the shore; Sveinn will not defend the land with words [alone]; the prow has anchored midway along the coast.
Mss: Kˣ(515r), 39(17rb), F(40vb), E(8v), J2ˣ(252v) (Hkr); H(11v), Hr(10va) (H-Hr)
Readings:  Gær: ‘Gaurr’ E, J2ˣ, Geir Hr  gein: grein 39, ‘[…]’ H; hauss fyrir: ‘hau[…]rir’ 39  fóra: ‘for a’ F, ‘færa’ E, J2ˣ, H, Hr  kastat: ‘[…]ð’ 39  keyrðum vér (‘kørðum ver’): keyrðu vér 39, F, E, J2ˣ, keyrandum H, Hr  Sveinn: ‘S.’ 39, Hr, Sveini J2ˣ, Sveins H; varða: verða Hr  staðar: staðr H, Hr; miðju: miðjum H, Hr  strand‑: ‘stran’ E
Editions: Skj: Þjóðolfr Arnórsson, 4. Lausavísur 1: AI, 377, BI, 347, Skald I, 174, NN §§1139, 1853C; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 58, IV, 198, ÍF 28, 52, Hkr 1991, 590 (Mgóð ch. 30), F 1871, 187, E 1916, 28; Fms 6, 79-80 (Mgóð ch. 38), Fms 12, 135.
Context: (Cf. previous two
Contexts.) Sveinn Úlfsson flees with a remnant of his following to Sjælland
(Selund, Zealand). Magnús Óláfsson’s men go ashore there and the next morning
slaughter cattle on the beach.
Notes: [1, 2] stóru grjóti, steini; fyrir ‘massive stones, rock; in their path’: Grjót may well have its common collective sense. The syntactic role of the two dat. references to stone (grjóti) or rock (steini) is not certain, although it is clear that one or both of them must be governed by kastat ‘hurled’ (l. 4). The main possibilities are the following: (a) Fyrir is here taken as an adv. meaning ‘in front, ahead [of them], in [their] path’, while grjóti stóru and steini are in apposition, both governed by kastat (so Kock in Skald and NN). (b) To construe Gær sák stóru grjóti kastat harðliga; hauss gein fyrir steini ‘Yesterday I saw massive stones hurled mightily; a skull gaped open before a rock’ (so also ÍF 28; Hkr 1991) makes good sense, but fyrir would be problematic, since the monosyllabic form fyr would be usual when the prep. is immediately followed by the noun phrase it governs. Only fyr is required in prepositional use in ÞjóðA Magn 13/5, 14/5, 14/7, Frag 1/3, Har 1/3, contrasted with the disyllabic fyrir in adverbial usage in ÞjóðA Lv 3/4 and 9/7. (Konráð Gíslason noted the rarity of fyrir as prep. and considered emending to ginu hausar fyr steinum ‘skulls gaped before rocks’, but drew back from that; Nj 1875-8, II, 855-6.) (b) Fyrir could govern grjóti stóru, in which case the disyllabic form is due to the fact that it does not directly precede that phrase (cf. yfir in st. 4/6), while kastat governs steini, hence sák steini kastat harðliga; hauss gein fyrir stóru grjóti ‘I saw rocks hurled mightily; skulls gaped open before great stones’ (so Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901 and Skj B). However, the prose w. o. assumed by this construal is non-obvious at best, and the same problem arises as for (b). —  fóra ‘did not advance’: The variant ‘færa’ has considerable support, but does not make obvious sense in context, whereas fóra supplies the sg. verb that seems to be required by fylking ‘troop’. Fms 12 took an entirely different approach, reading fór á as two words: …grjóti, (sem) fór fast á fylking þeirra ‘stones, [which] pelted hard onto their troop’, but see Konráð Gíslason (loc. cit.) for a refutation of this. — [5, 8] strandhǫgg ofan ‘cattle for slaughter down to the shore’: Strandhǫgg n., only here in poetry, is lit. ‘shore-slaughter’, performed when coastal raiders drive cattle down to a beach and slaughter them for food. The adv. ofan ‘down’ has its usual sense.