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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 11VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 11’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 16-17.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli

text and translation

Þreklynds skulu Þrœndir
þegns prýðibrag hlýða
Krists — lifir hann í hæstri
hǫll — ok Norðmenn allir.
Dýrð es ágæt orðin
eljunhress í þessu
— þjóð né þengill fœðisk
þvílíkr — konungs ríki.

Þrœndir ok allir Norðmenn skulu hlýða prýðibrag {þreklynds þegns Krists}; hann lifir í hæstri hǫll. Eljunhress dýrð es orðin ágæt í þessu konungs ríki; þjóð né þvílíkr þengill fœðisk.
‘The Þrœndir and all Norwegians should listen to the splendid poem of the strong-minded thane of Christ [= Óláfr]; he lives in the highest hall. Energetic fame has become renowned in this king’s realm; neither people nor such a prince will be born [again].

notes and context

Flat and Bb’s versions of st. 11 differ significantly, especially in ll. 2, 6 and 8. — [3-4]: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and Kock (Skald) assume an intercalary cl. hann lifir í hæstri hǫll Krists ‘he [Óláfr] lives in the highest hall of Christ’, understanding ‘the highest hall of Christ’ as a kenning for heaven. Here, however, the sup. adj. is redundant so the phrase í hæstri hǫll (cf. œztrar hallar 5/3, 4) offers a better reading. — [5-8]: Most eds (Skj B, Skald and NN §931, and Wisén 1886-9, I, 55) follow Bb’s þessu (l. 6) and omission of í (l. 8), which in Flat’s version is both hypermetrical and unmetrical. Flat’s version also requires a noun to be understood with þessum (l. 6). Eljunhress (adj.) ‘energetic’ may be either f. nom. sg. agreeing with dýrð or m. gen. sg., used substantivally, referring to Óláfr. Alternatively, it can qualify konungs, although this involves reading konungs and ríki in l. 8 separately rather than as comprising a single phrase. Skj B construes ll. 5-8 as: dýrð eljunhress þjóðkonungs es orðin ágæt; né fœðisk þvílíkr þengill í þessu ríki ‘the fame of the energetic people-king has become renowned; there will not be born [again] such a prince in this realm’. This has the advantage of avoiding the rather awkward treatment of þjóð (l. 7), necessitated by Kock’s solution below; instead þjóðkonungs is taken as a cpd with tmesis, as in a similar context in 14/3-4. Kock (NN §931) has dýrð eljunhress es orðin ágæt í þessu konungsríki; þjóð né þvílíkr ðengill fœðisk ‘the fame of the hero has become renowned in this kingdom; neither people nor such a prince will be born [elsewhere]’. Kock’s version, however, is the simplest, as far as word order is concerned, and metrically straightforward, and a variant of it is adopted here.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 6. Geisli 11: AI, 461, BI, 429-30, Skald I, 212, NN §931; Flat 1860-8, I, 2, Cederschiöld 1873, 2, Chase 2005, 61, 134.


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