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Úlfr stallari Óspaksson (Úlfr)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Lausavísa (Lv) - 1

See ‘Biographies of Other Dignitaries’ in Introduction to this volume.

Vol. II. Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: from c. 1035 to c. 1300 > 8. Introduction > 5. Biographies > 2. Biographies of Other Dignitaries > g. Úlfr stallari Óspaksson (Úlfr)

Sagas: HSig, MH (Ágr, Fsk, Flat, H-Hr, Hkr, Mork).

Úlfr stallari ‘Marshal’ Óspaksson (Úlfr) was the grandson of the Icelander Ósvífr inn spaki ‘the Wise’ (see ÍF 1, 123, 182-5; Genealogy IV in ÍF 5; ÍF 28, 120; Hollander 1991, 608). He came from a prominent family of poets, among them Einarr skálaglamm (EskálI), Stúfr inn blindi (Stúfr) and Steinn Herdísarson (Steinn), and he was the great-grandfather of Archbishop Eysteinn Erlendsson of Nidaros (1161-88). Úlfr served with Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson in Byzantium, and later Haraldr appointed him his marshal (stallari). He died in the spring of 1066 before Haraldr embarked on his expedition to England. See Ágr (ÍF 29, 36; Ágr 1995, 52-3), Mork (Mork 1928-32, 55-6, 74, 80-2, 170-1, 207-9, 265; Andersson and Gade 2000, 129, 142, 145-6, 204, 227-8, 263), Fsk (ÍF 29, 235, 262, 264-6, 276; Finlay 2004, 189, 209, 211-12, 220), Hkr (ÍF 28, 79, 86, 119-20, 147, 175; Hollander 1991, 583, 588, 608, 626, 645), H-Hr (Fms 6, 164-6, 266, 313-15, 401), Flat (Flat 1860-8, III, 287-8, 301, 304-5, 344, 361-2, 388).

Events documented in poetry: Úlfr’s participation in the battle of the Nissan in 1062 (Steinn Úlffl); his comment on the strength of the English army before Haraldr embarked on his campaign in 1066 (Úlfr Lv).

Lausavísa — Úlfr LvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Úlfr stallari Óspaksson, Lausavísa’ 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. 348-9. <> (accessed 27 January 2022)

stanzas:  1 

Skj: Ulfr stallari: En lausavísa, 1066 (AI, 403, BI, 372); stanzas (if different): [v]

SkP info: II, 348-9

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Úlfr Lv 1II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Úlfr stallari Óspaksson, Lausavísa 1’ 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. 348-9.

Esa stǫllurum stillis
stafnrúm Haralds jafnan
— ónauðigr fekk auðar —
innan þǫrf at hvarfa,
ef, hǫrbrekka, hrøkkva,
hrein, skulum tveir fyr einum
(ungr kenndak mér) undan,
(annat) þingamanni.

Esa þǫrf stǫllurum stillis at hvarfa jafnan innan stafnrúm Haralds—fekk auðar ónauðigr—, ef, {hrein hǫrbrekka}, skulum hrøkkva undan tveir fyr einum þingamanni; ungr kenndak mér annat.

There is no need for the lord’s marshals always to idle inside Haraldr’s prow-area—I acquired wealth without coercion—, if, {pure flax-slope} [WOMAN], we must flee two before one þingamaðr; as a youth, I got accustomed to something else.

Mss: (575r), papp18ˣ(267v), 39(30rb), F(51vb), E(25v), J2ˣ(292v) (Hkr); H(73r), Hr(52rb) (H-Hr); Mork(18v) (Mork); Flat(203rb) (Flat)

Readings: [1] Esa (‘Era’): Erat Mork, ‘Er ath’ Flat    [2] stafnrúm: stafni um E;    jafnan: jafna Mork    [3] fekk (‘fekk ek’): so H, Hr, Mork, Flat, ‘fec ec’ or ‘fæ ec’ Kˣ, fæ ek papp18ˣ, F, E, J2ˣ, ‘fé ec’ 39    [4] þǫrf: ‘þꜹf’ F;    at: af Flat;    hvarfa: so E, Mork, Flat, hverfa Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 39, F, J2ˣ, H, Hr    [5] hǫrbrekka (‘hꜹrbrechan’): ‘hꜹrbreckan’ papp18ˣ, ‘haurbeccan’ 39, herbrekkan H, Mork, Flat, ‘herbrezkan’ Hr    [6] hrein: so E, hreins Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 39, F, J2ˣ, Hr, Mork, Flat, ‘hréns’ H;    skulum: so 39, F, H, Hr, Mork, skulu Kˣ, papp18ˣ, E, J2ˣ, Flat    [8] þinga‑: þingaða‑ Hr

Editions: Skj: Ulfr stallari, En lausavísa: AI, 403, BI, 372, Skald I, 185, NN §806; ÍF 28, 175 (HSig ch. 79), F 1871, 242, E 1916, 90; Fms 6, 401 (HSig ch. 113); Mork 1867, 111, Mork 1928-32, 265, Andersson and Gade 2000, 263, 480 (MH); Flat 1860-8, III, 388 (MH).

Context: Before Haraldr harðráði embarks on his expedition to England in 1066, some say that England may be difficult to conquer because of the army known as þingamenn, whose soldiers are said to be twice as brave as Haraldr’s men. Úlfr responds with this st.

Notes: [All]: The sense of the st. is that it would not be worth Úlfr’s while to go on the expedition, if Haraldr’s warriors anticipate in advance that they will flee before an Engl. force inferior in numbers. — [1] stǫllurum ‘marshals’: A stallari ‘marshal’ was one of the most prominent retainers of a king, whose duty it was to communicate the king’s decisions to the populace. Haraldr harðráði had two marshals, Úlfr and Styrkárr. — [2] stafnrúm ‘prow-area’: The place in the prow occupied by a king’s or chieftain’s warriors (see Falk 1912, 84; Jesch 2001a, 145). — [2] jafnan ‘always’: Skj B connects this adv. with the following cl., which creates an awkward w. o. (see NN §806) and also violates the syntax of an independent cl. (see Kuhn 1983, 117). — [3] fekk (‘fekk ek’; 1st pers. sg. pret. indic.) ‘I acquired’: Both Skj B and Skald (and ÍF 28) adopt fæk (‘fæ ek’; 1st pers. sg. pres. indic.) ‘I acquire’ (so 39, F, E, J2ˣ). The first word is blotched and difficult to read in (either ‘fec’ corrected from ‘fæ’ or ‘fæ’ corrected from ‘fec’), but papp18ˣ has ‘fæ ec’, which indicates that this was likely the original Kringla reading. In view of the final cl. (‘as a youth, I was accustomed to something else’), the pret. tense is preferable. — [5, 6] hrein hǫrbrekka ‘pure flax-slope [WOMAN]’: The identity of this woman is unknown. For similar apostrophes to unknown women, see Note to Hharð Gamv 3/1. — [6] skulum (1st pers. pl. pres. indic.) ‘we should’: Earlier eds adopt the variant skulu (3rd pers. pl. pres. indic.) ‘they should’ (so , papp18ˣ, E, J2ˣ, Flat), which is possible but lower on the stemma. — [8] þingamanni: The Engl. company of þingamenn was instituted by Knútr inn ríki Sveinsson (Cnut the Great) around 1018 but disbanded after the Norman Conquest in 1066. According to Saxo (2005, I, 10, 18, pp. 670-81), it consisted of six thousand chosen men (see also ÍF 35, 100, n. 1; ÍF 27, 19 n. 1; Jesch 2001a, 192, 194). The term þingamaðr most likely derives from OE þeningmann ‘servant-man’.

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