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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Magnússdrápa — Arn MagndrII

Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson

Diana Whaley 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Magnússdrápa’ 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. 206-29.

 

Fifteen sts and four helmingar are printed here (as in Skj) as Arnórr’s second, dróttkvætt poem for Magnús inn góði ‘the Good’ Óláfsson (Arn Magndr). Judging by its content and its retrospective mode, replete with 3rd pers. pret.-tense verbs (not least in st. 19), the poem was an erfidrápa ‘memorial drápa’ presumably composed not long after Magnús’s death in 1047. The call for a hearing, þegi seimbrotar ‘let gold-breakers be silent’ (st. 1) implies a collective audience, perhaps Magnús’s retinue, who are praised in sts 2 and 17.

The preservation of Magndr quite closely resembles that of Arn Hryn as now preserved, with the notable difference that the poem is quite well represented in Fsk, while Mork as now preserved contains none of it. H-Hr has all the known sts except for st. 19, and st. 9 is cited twice. Again, Hr is the more complete witness while H lacks the early sts (1-4). Flat (Flat) has all except sts 3, 12/5-8 and 19, but Mork (Mork) is defective. Hkr ( as main ms., F, 39, E, J2ˣ) has sts 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 14, 17 and 18, except that F omits st. 14; ÓH has sts 1, 2 and 10 (see these below for ms. listing). Fsk cites sts 4, 5, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17/1-4 and 18 in the FskBˣ text, while FskAˣ additionally has st. 1 but omits four helmingar: sts 10/5-8 and 18/5-8, and the incomplete sts 14 and 16. SnE has texts of sts 12/5-8, 17/5-8 and 19 in R (as main ms.), , U, W and of st. 2/5-8 in R, , A, C; B has st. 19 only in a partially damaged text that is supplemented by selective use of 744ˣ.

The sts below are all credited to Arnórr in medieval sources, except that Flat erroneously attributes st. 4 to ‘Skúli’ (and by implication Arn Hryn 8, which immediately follows it). The poem is entitled Magnússdrápa or Magnúsardrápa in mss of ÓH and H-Hr (see Notes to sts 1, 4 [All]), while ‘Magnússdrápa’ in Knýtl and TGT refers to Arn Hryn. Stanzas 1 and 4 are explicitly cited from Magndr in their sources, and the subject of sts 3 and 15 is clearly identified as sonr leifs ‘Óláfr’s son’. Most of the remainder can be confidently associated with Magndr since they depict triumphs associated with Magnús elsewhere, especially in Arnórr’s own Hryn and in ÞjóðA Magnfl or Magn: the conquest of Denmark (c. 1042, sts 5-7); the sack of Wollin (Jóm, c. 1043, st. 8); the battle off Helgenæs (Helganes, c. 1043-4, sts 12-15); and ravaging of Skåne, Falster and Fyn (Skáney, Falstr and Fjón, c. 1044, sts 16-18). The encounter with vikings off Rügen (Ré) in st. 9 does not carry such a weight of tradition as the remaining events (see Context and below). Stanza 19 lacks defining detail and is preserved only in SnE. It was printed within Arn Þorfdr in CPB II, 196, and is considered of uncertain origin by Fidjestøl (1982, 130), but the use of the adj. ungr ‘young’ and the ‘ruler’ term skjǫldungr associated with Magnús (see Notes to Arn Hryn 8/4 and 4/3 respectively) point to origins in Magndr

The bid for a hearing in st. 1 makes it a plausible opening to the poem, and most of the remaining sts fit into what seems a quite stable tradition about the chronology of Magnús’s campaigns (listed above). The ordering of st. 8 (Wollin), st. 9 (Rügen), and sts 10-11 (Lyrskovshede, ON Hlýrskógsheiðr) is somewhat in doubt, but the witness of Fsk (ÍF 29, 220), which does not cite st. 9 and Flat (1860-8, III, 275, which does) is that Magnús engaged with vikings at Rügen on his way from the sack of Wollin to the victory at Lyrskovshede, and this is supported by the location of Rügen close to the Baltic coast on the route between Wollin and the Dan. territories. Of sts 12-15 only H-Hr and Flat cite all four, and Flat disagrees with the other prose sources about the event commemorated (citing 12, 14 and 15 as evidence for the battle off Århus (Áróss) rather than Helgenæs). The ordering of H-Hr is supported by the internal evidence of the sts and is adopted here (Skj has 13 and 14 in the opposite order). The case of the hyperbolic st. 19 is parallel with Arn Hryn 20 (see Introduction to that poem), and could be part of the slœmr ‘close’ or a stef ‘refrain’.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Fidjestøl, Bjarne. 1982. Det norrøne fyrstediktet. Universitet i Bergen Nordisk institutts skriftserie 11. Øvre Ervik: Alvheim & Eide.
  3. CPB = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and F. York Powell, eds. 1883. Corpus poeticum boreale: The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1965, New York: Russell & Russell.
  4. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  5. Internal references
  6. Edith Marold 2017, ‘Snorra Edda (Prologue, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál)’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  7. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  8. Tarrin Wills 2017, ‘The Third Grammatical Treatise’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  9. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Flateyjarbók (Flat)’ 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, pp. clxi-clxii.
  10. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Separate Saga of S. Óláfr / Óláfs saga helga in sérstaka (ÓH)’ 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, pp. clxxvi-clxxix.
  11. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Fagrskinna (Fsk)’ 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, pp. clix-clxi.
  12. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Hulda and Hrokkinskinna (H-Hr)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  13. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Morkinskinna (Mork)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  14. Diana Whaley 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda, Magnússdrápa’ 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. 181-206.
  15. Diana Whaley 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Þorfinnsdrápa’ 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. 229-60.
  16. Diana Whaley 2009, ‘(Introduction to) 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.
  17. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda, Magnússdrápa 20’ 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, p. 206.
  18. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda, Magnússdrápa 8’ 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. 192-3.
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