Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóðólfr Arnórsson (ÞjóðA)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Diana Whaley;

2. Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi (Magn) - 14

Skj info: Þjóðolfr Arnórsson, Islandsk skjald, d. 1066. (AI, 361-83, BI, 332-53).

Skj poems:
[untitled]
1. Magnúsflokkr
2. Runhent digt om Harald hårdråde
3. Sexstefja
4. Lausavísur

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.

Magnússflokkr (ÞjóðA Magnfl)
SkP Skj
1-141-14
15Náði jarl at eyða 19
16Rǫnn lézt, ræsir Þrœnda,20
17Hizig laut, es heitir 21
18Flýði jarl af auðu, 22
19Háðisk heilli góðu25
Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi (ÞjóðA Magn)
SkPSkj
1Hrauð leifs mǫgr áðan Magnfl 15
2Misst hafa Sveins at sýnu, Magnfl 16
3Gær sák grjóti stóru Lv 1
4Spurði einu orði Magnfl 17
5Saurstokkinn bar svíra Magnfl 18
6Hrindr af hrókalandi Lv 2
7Menn eigu þess minnask, Lv 3
8Skjǫld bark heim frá hjaldri Magnfl 23
9Bauð leifs sonr áðan Magnfl 24
10Nú taka Norðmenn knýja,Lv 4
11Brum jǫrn at œrnuLv 5
12Svíðr of seggja búðirLv 6
13Fjǫrð lét fylkir verðaLv 7
14Ek hef ekki at drekkaLv 8
Runhent poem about Haraldr (ÞjóðA Run)
SkPSkj
1-41-4
Sexstefja (ÞjóðA Sex)
SkPSkj
1-51-5
6Þjóð veit, at hefr háðar7
7Stólþengils lét stinga6
8Ok hertoga hneykir25
9Reist eikikjǫlr austan8
10Vatn lézt, vísi, slitna,9
11Gegn skyli herr, sem hugnar10
12Frn hefr sveit við Sveini11
13Lét vingjafa veitir12
14Fast bað fylking hrausta13
15Alm dró upplenzkr hilmir14
16Flest vas hirð, sús hraustum15
17Sogns kvðu gram gegnan16
18Sveinn át sigr at launa17
19Nús of verk, þaus vísi,18
20Létu lystir sleitu19
21Tók Holmbúa hneykir20
22Gagn brann greypra þegna; 21
23Fœrði fylkir Hǫrða,22
24Áræðis naut eyðir23
25Refsir reyndan ofsa24
26Mǫrk lét veitt fyr verka26
27Ǫrð sær Yrsu burðar27
28Lét hræteina hveiti32
29Blóðorra lætr barri30a
30Geirs oddum lætr greddir30b
31Gera vas gisting byrjuð29
32Hár skyli hirðar stjóri35
Stanzas about Haraldr Sigurðarson’s leiðangr (ÞjóðA Har)
SkPSkj
1Skeið sák framm at flœði, Lv 18
2Slyngr laugardag lǫngu Lv 19
3Rétt kann rœði slíta Lv 20
4Sorgar veit, áðr slíti Lv 21
5Eigu skjól und skógi Lv 22
6Hléseyjar lemr hvan Lv 23
7Haraldr þeysti nú hraustla Lv 24
Fragments (ÞjóðA Frag )
SkPSkj
1 Nús valmeiðum víðisLv 9
2Jarl/Ǫrr lætr, odda skúrar Sex 28
3Ganga él of Yngva Sex 31
4Snart við sæþráð kyrtat Sex 33
5Útan bindr við enda Sex 34
Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Lausavísur (ÞjóðA Lv)
SkPSkj
1Leiða langar dauða Lv 10
2Sumar annat skal sunnar Lv 11
3[Logit hefr Baldr at Baldri]
brynþings fetilstingar
Lv 12
4Mildingr rauð í móðu Lv 13
5Varp ór þrætu þorpi Lv 14
6Sigurðr eggjaði sleggju Lv 15
7Haddan skall, en Halli Lv 16
8Út stendr undan báti Lv 17
9Ǫld es, sús jarli skyldi Lv 25
10Skalka frá, þótt fylkir Lv 26
11Ǫld 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.

notes

Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi — ÞjóðA MagnII

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.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14 

Skj: Þjóðolfr Arnórsson: (AI, 361-8, BI, 332-8)

SkP info: II, 99-100

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

12 — ÞjóðA Magn 12II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi 12’ 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. 99-100.

Svíðr of seggja búðir
— siklingr í her miklum
eyðir byggð sem bráðast —
bjartr eldr Danaveldi.
Móðr berr halr of heiði
halds Danmarkar skjǫldu;
vér hlutum sigr, en sárir
Sveins menn fyrir renna.

Bjartr eldr svíðr of búðir seggja Danaveldi; siklingr í miklum her eyðir byggð sem bráðast. Halr, móðr halds Danmarkar, berr skjǫldu of heiði; vér hlutum sigr, en menn Sveins renna sárir fyrir.

Bright fire flames across the dwellings of men in the realm of the Danes; the prince, in a great army, destroys the settlement with all haste. A warrior, weary of defending Denmark, carries shields across the heath; we won victory, but Sveinn’s men run wounded away.

Mss: (518r), papp18ˣ(222v), 39(17vb), F(41rb), E(9r), J2ˣ(255r) (Hkr); H(12v), Hr(11ra) (H-Hr)

Readings: [3] sem: enn J2ˣ    [5] Móðr: so all others, móðir Kˣ;    halr of (‘halr um’): hǫltum H, Hr;    heiði: ‘heíðe’ corrected from ‘haðe’ in the left margin in the same hand E    [6] halds: so 39, F, ‘haldr’ Kˣ, ‘hallz’ E, J2ˣ, hjaldrs H, ‘hialldus’ Hr

Editions: Skj: Þjóðolfr Arnórsson, 4. Lausavísur 6: AI, 378, BI, 348, Skald I, 175, NN §§869, 3231; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 66-7, IV, 205, ÍF 28, 60-1, Hkr 1991, 596 (Mgóð ch. 33), F 1871, 190, E 1916, 31; Fms 6, 88 (Mgóð ch. 40), Fms 12, 139.

Context: The st. follows Magn 11 without interruption in most Hkr mss and with a brief link in J2ˣ and H-Hr.

Notes: [1-4]: As Kock pointed out (NN §869), the helmingr is capable of various construals, since the verbs svíðr ‘flames, burns’ (l. 1) and eyðir ‘destroys’ (l. 3) could be read with either siklingr ‘prince’ or bjartr eldr ‘bright fire’ as their subject, while sem bráðast ‘with all haste’ is an apo koinou adverbial that could qualify either cl. Although svíða occurs with human subjects (LP and Fritzner: svíða), however, the pairing svíðrbjartr eldr, and the arrangement of clauses shown above, seem the most likely. — [2, 4] í miklum her; Danaveldi ‘in a great army; in the realm of the Danes’: Finnur assumed that the prep. í ‘in’ governs, not the noun phrase that follows it (her miklum, which he takes as instr., ‘with a great army’) but the remote Danaveldi (Hkr 1893-1901 and Skj B). One can only agree with Kock (NN §869) that this is extremely strained; indeed the separation of unstressed proclitic prep. and noun is unparalleled, and it is not necessary, since dat. Danaveldi can alone mean ‘in the realm of the Danes’, as assumed here and by most eds. Danaveldi, as the sphere of operation in this set of sts, has been used in its editorial title in this edn. Whether the term Danaveldi is used differently from Danmarkar ‘Denmark’ (l. 6) is unclear; both at this period included Skåne (Skáney), now part of southern Sweden. — [6] halds Danmarkar ‘of defending Denmark’: (a) Skj A gives ‘hallz’ in F and 39, but the ‘d’ is clear in both (and is the reading given in Hkr 1893-1901, III, 67), and this helps to confirm halds as the most likely underlying reading. This is construed here with móðr ‘weary’, which can be qualified by af and the reason for weariness in the dat. (e.g. móðr mjök af gǫngu ‘very weary from walking’, cited in Fritzner: móðr adj.) but alternatively by a noun in the gen., here halds ‘of holding, defending’ (cf. föstumóðr ‘weary from fasting’, Anon Lil 45/2VII); this is the interpretation adopted in ÍF 28 and Hkr 1991, 594. (b) Hjaldrs ‘of battle’ in H and (slightly corrupted) in Hr is also attractive. It could be taken with móðr, giving ‘weary of/from battle’ (so Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901 and Skj B), or alternatively with halr ‘man’ in l. 5 to form a term for ‘warrior’ (so NN §3231), but the stemma clearly shows it to be secondary.

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