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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 12VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 12’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 17.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli

text and translation

Sigvatr, frák, at segði
sóknbráðs konungs dáðir;
spurt hefr ǫld, at orti
Óttarr um gram dróttar.
Þeir hafa þengils Mœra
— þvís sýst — frama lýstan,
(helgum lýtk) es hétu
hǫfuðskǫld (fira jǫfri).

Frák, at Sigvatr segði dáðir sóknbráðs konungs; ǫld hefr spurt, at Óttarr orti um gram dróttar. Þeir, es hétu hǫfuðskǫld, hafa lýstan frama {þengils Mœra}; þvís sýst; lýtk {helgum jǫfri fira}.
‘I heard that Sigvatr told the deeds of the battle-quick king; men have learnt that Óttarr composed [poetry] about the king of the court. They who were called the chief skalds have proclaimed the courage of the lord of the Mœrir [= Óláfr]; that has been done; I do homage to the holy king of men [= Óláfr].

notes and context

[5-8]: Hétu must be understood in its passive sense ‘were called’, and jǫfurr fira ‘king of men’ as an epithet for Óláfr parallel with gram dróttar ‘the king of the court’ (l. 4). For other readings see Finnur Jónsson in Skj B, Kock in Skald, where, following a suggestion of Konráð Gíslason, fira (l. 8) is emended to firar, giving þeir es firar hétu hǫfuðskǫld ‘they whom men called chief poets’.



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 12: AI, 461, BI, 430, Skald I, 212; Flat 1860-8, I, 2, Cederschiöld 1873, 2, Chase 2005, 62, 135.


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