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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eskál Lv 1aI

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2012, ‘Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, Lausavísur 1a’ 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, p. 331.

Einarr skálaglamm HelgasonLausavísur
1a

Geyrða ‘’

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vet ‘’

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Gerðak ‘I composed’

1. gera (verb): do, make

[1] Gerðak: ‘Gio᷎rda ue⸜t⸝ ek’ 510, ‘Geyrða ek’ M

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veig ‘strong drink’

veig (noun f.): strong drink

[1] veig: víg Flat, om. 510, M

kennings

veig Váfaðar
‘strong drink of Váfuðr ’
   = POETRY

strong drink of Váfuðr → POETRY

notes

[1] veig ‘strong drink’: Omitted in 510 and M, but present in 291 and undoubtedly correct, as it restores metrical and alliterative regularity to the line, as well as providing the base-word of a conventional kenning for ‘poetry’. Flat’s víg ‘killing’ is not appropriate in context.

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virða ‘men’

virðr (noun m.): man

kennings

virða víðis;
‘men of the ocean; ’
   = SEAFARERS

men of the ocean; → SEAFARERS
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víðis ‘of the ocean’

víðir (noun m.): ocean

[2] víðis: vǫrð 510, M

kennings

virða víðis;
‘men of the ocean; ’
   = SEAFARERS

men of the ocean; → SEAFARERS

notes

[2] víðis ‘of the ocean’: This, the Jvs A-redaction reading (291 and Flat) from víðir ‘ocean, sea’, is retained here as the reading of the main ms. and the lectio difficilior. It requires an otherwise unprecedented kenning type, virða víðis ‘men of the ocean’, which Ólafur Halldórsson (Jvs 1969, 215) tentatively construes to mean ‘seafarers’. In the context of this stanza, however, one would expect a kenning for Hákon jarl, which the 510, M reading vǫrð virða ‘guardian of men [RULER]’ would provide.

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illrar ‘At an unfortunate’

illr (adj.): bad, evil, unwell

[2] illrar tíðar: þann er sitr á jǫrðu 510, þann er sitr at jǫrðu M

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tíðar ‘time’

1. tíð (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): time

[2] illrar tíðar: þann er sitr á jǫrðu 510, þann er sitr at jǫrðu M

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vann ‘did’

2. vinna (verb): perform, work

[3] þat vann ek: iðrumk þess 510, M

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ek ‘I’

ek (pron.; °mín, dat. mér, acc. mik): I, me

[3] þat vann ek: iðrumk þess 510, M

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meðan ‘while’

meðan (conj.): while

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ǫrr ‘eager’

ǫrr (adj.): generous, brave

[4] ǫrr Váfaðar: ‘orua ued urs of’ Flat, ‘aur uꜳ̋dermenn’ 510

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urs ‘’

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Váfaðar ‘of Váfuðr’

Váfuðr (noun m.): Váfuðr

[4] ǫrr Váfaðar: ‘orua ued urs of’ Flat, ‘aur uꜳ̋dermenn’ 510

kennings

veig Váfaðar
‘strong drink of Váfuðr ’
   = POETRY

strong drink of Váfuðr → POETRY
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svôfu ‘slept’

sofa (verb): sleep

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Komkat ‘I have not come’

koma (verb; kem, kom/kvam, kominn): come

[5] Komkat þess þars þótti (‘komkaþ ec þes þar er þotte’): ‘katr er þrotz þar er þotti’ Flat, komkat ek þrótt þann er þœtti 510, hykkat ek hodda stǫkkvi M

notes

[5, 6] komkat þess þingsættis ‘I have not come to that assembly-reconciler [RULER]’: For the use of verbs of motion + gen., see NS §141, though the genitives in the examples there denote places through or across which the subject is travelling rather than a person who is being sought. Þingsættis, the reading of 291 and Flat, is tentatively construed here as a kenning for a ruler who reconciles others at the assembly. It is without precedent, however, in the skaldic corpus. Ólafur Halldórsson (Jvs 1969, 215) emended to þingsetrs ‘of the assembly-seat’, which is also unprecedented in poetry and not particularly suitable in context. Lines 5-6 in the A-redaction mss of Jvs are likely to be corrupted. They lack hendingar and their general sense seems obscure; do they mean that Einarr has never come across a ruler who paid more for bad poetry and did not reward good?

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þess ‘to that’

1. sá (pron.; °gen. þess, dat. þeim, acc. þann; f. sú, gen. þeirrar, acc. þá; n. þat, dat. því; pl. m. þeir, f. þǽ---): that (one), those

[5] Komkat þess þars þótti (‘komkaþ ec þes þar er þotte’): ‘katr er þrotz þar er þotti’ Flat, komkat ek þrótt þann er þœtti 510, hykkat ek hodda stǫkkvi M

kennings

þess þingsættis,
‘to that assembly-reconciler ’
   = RULER

to that assembly-reconciler → RULER

notes

[5, 6] komkat þess þingsættis ‘I have not come to that assembly-reconciler [RULER]’: For the use of verbs of motion + gen., see NS §141, though the genitives in the examples there denote places through or across which the subject is travelling rather than a person who is being sought. Þingsættis, the reading of 291 and Flat, is tentatively construed here as a kenning for a ruler who reconciles others at the assembly. It is without precedent, however, in the skaldic corpus. Ólafur Halldórsson (Jvs 1969, 215) emended to þingsetrs ‘of the assembly-seat’, which is also unprecedented in poetry and not particularly suitable in context. Lines 5-6 in the A-redaction mss of Jvs are likely to be corrupted. They lack hendingar and their general sense seems obscure; do they mean that Einarr has never come across a ruler who paid more for bad poetry and did not reward good?

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þars ‘where’

þars (conj.): where

[5] Komkat þess þars þótti (‘komkaþ ec þes þar er þotte’): ‘katr er þrotz þar er þotti’ Flat, komkat ek þrótt þann er þœtti 510, hykkat ek hodda stǫkkvi M

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þótti ‘seemed’

2. þykkja (verb): seem, think

[5] Komkat þess þars þótti (‘komkaþ ec þes þar er þotte’): ‘katr er þrotz þar er þotti’ Flat, komkat ek þrótt þann er þœtti 510, hykkat ek hodda stǫkkvi M

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þing ‘assembly’

þing (noun n.; °-s; -): meeting, assembly < þingsættir (noun m.)

[6] þingsættis betra: þrenna linns at finna 510, ‘hinnig sotta sotta ek gram þottu’ M

kennings

þess þingsættis,
‘to that assembly-reconciler ’
   = RULER

to that assembly-reconciler → RULER

notes

[5, 6] komkat þess þingsættis ‘I have not come to that assembly-reconciler [RULER]’: For the use of verbs of motion + gen., see NS §141, though the genitives in the examples there denote places through or across which the subject is travelling rather than a person who is being sought. Þingsættis, the reading of 291 and Flat, is tentatively construed here as a kenning for a ruler who reconciles others at the assembly. It is without precedent, however, in the skaldic corpus. Ólafur Halldórsson (Jvs 1969, 215) emended to þingsetrs ‘of the assembly-seat’, which is also unprecedented in poetry and not particularly suitable in context. Lines 5-6 in the A-redaction mss of Jvs are likely to be corrupted. They lack hendingar and their general sense seems obscure; do they mean that Einarr has never come across a ruler who paid more for bad poetry and did not reward good?

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sættis ‘reconciler’

sættir (noun m.): reconciler < þingsættir (noun m.)

[6] þingsættis betra: þrenna linns at finna 510, ‘hinnig sotta sotta ek gram þottu’ M

kennings

þess þingsættis,
‘to that assembly-reconciler ’
   = RULER

to that assembly-reconciler → RULER

notes

[5, 6] komkat þess þingsættis ‘I have not come to that assembly-reconciler [RULER]’: For the use of verbs of motion + gen., see NS §141, though the genitives in the examples there denote places through or across which the subject is travelling rather than a person who is being sought. Þingsættis, the reading of 291 and Flat, is tentatively construed here as a kenning for a ruler who reconciles others at the assembly. It is without precedent, however, in the skaldic corpus. Ólafur Halldórsson (Jvs 1969, 215) emended to þingsetrs ‘of the assembly-seat’, which is also unprecedented in poetry and not particularly suitable in context. Lines 5-6 in the A-redaction mss of Jvs are likely to be corrupted. They lack hendingar and their general sense seems obscure; do they mean that Einarr has never come across a ruler who paid more for bad poetry and did not reward good?

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‘money’

fé (noun n.; °fjár/féar; -): cattle, money

[6] þingsættis betra: þrenna linns at finna 510, ‘hinnig sotta sotta ek gram þottu’ M

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betra ‘better’

betri (adj. comp.; °superl. beztr/baztr; pos. „ góðr adj.): better, best

[6] þingsættis betra: þrenna linns at finna 510, ‘hinnig sotta sotta ek gram þottu’ M

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meiðr ‘tree [man]’

meiðr (noun m.): beam, tree

[7] meiðr sparir hodd við hróðri: færi mik fyrða mæri 510, fýsinn frœknum vísa M

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sparir ‘withholds’

2. spara (verb): spare, withhold

[7] meiðr sparir hodd við hróðri: færi mik fyrða mæri 510, fýsinn frœknum vísa M

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hodd ‘treasure’

1. hodd (noun f.): gold, treasure

[7] meiðr sparir hodd við hróðri: færi mik fyrða mæri 510, fýsinn frœknum vísa M

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við ‘from’

2. við (prep.): with, against

[7] meiðr sparir hodd við hróðri: færi mik fyrða mæri 510, fýsinn frœknum vísa M

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hróðri ‘praise poetry’

hróðr (noun m.): encomium, praise

[7] meiðr sparir hodd við hróðri: færi mik fyrða mæri 510, fýsinn frœknum vísa M

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feri ‘’

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hverr ‘each’

2. hverr (pron.): who, whom, each, every

[8] hverr: ‘fere’ 510, ‘ferri’ M

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en ‘but’

2. en (conj.): but, and

[8] en: om. 510, M

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skald ‘poet’

skáld (noun n.; °-s; -): poet

[8] skald it: ‘skíalld enn’ 510, skald in M

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it ‘the’

2. inn (art.): the

[8] skald it: ‘skíalld enn’ 510, skald in M

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verra ‘worse’

verri (adj. comp.): worse, worst

[8] verra: verri 510

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

In Jvs, Einarr complains that Hákon jarl has shown him little honour (sómi) of late, compared to what he had formerly enjoyed, and threatens to defect to the leader of the Jómsvíkingar, Sigvaldi Strút-Haraldsson. In Eg (A-redaction only), the stanza is precipitated by the jarl’s refusal to listen to Einarr’s drápa Vellekla (Eskál Vell), because he is angry with the poet for unspecified reasons.

There is less divergence between the Jvs mss versus M in ll. 1-4 than in ll. 5-8, where there are some marked differences between the readings of all lines, except for the second part of l. 8. M shows the greatest similarity to 510, but also has readings that seem to be independent of any extant Jvs ms. — [7-8]: These lines in the Jvs A-redaction mss again suggest corruption. Meiðr ‘tree’ as a man-heiti is suspicious, as it usually functions as the base-word of a man-kenning. 

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