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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 15VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 15’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 19-20.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli

text and translation

Fregit hefk satt, at sagði
snjallri ferð, áðr berðisk
— drótt nýtr dǫglings máttar —
draum sinn konungr Rauma.
Stiga sá standa fagran
stjórnar fimr til himna
— rausn dugir hans at hrósa —
Hǫrða gramr af jǫrðu.

Hefk fregit satt, at {konungr Rauma} sagði snjallri ferð draum sinn, áðr berðisk; drótt nýtr dǫglings máttar. {Gramr Hǫrða}, fimr stjórnar, sá fagran stiga standa af jǫrðu til himna; dugir at hrósa rausn hans.
‘I have heard truly that the king of the Raumar [= Óláfr] told the clever band his dream before they fought; the court enjoys the prince’s might. The king of the Hǫrðar [= Óláfr], adept at leadership, saw a beautiful ladder ascending from earth to the heavens; it is fitting to praise his greatness.

notes and context

[5-6]: Óláfr’s vision of the ladder ascending to heaven is said to have occurred on the eve of the battle of Stiklestad (see Chase 2005, 30-4, where there is a discussion of the typological significance of the ladder as a means of entry to heaven). On the parallel between Christ’s Cross and a ladder, see also Anon Líkn 34 and Note. Óláfr’s vision is not found in the early vernacular accounts of his miracles, and is likely to have been a learned borrowing rather than a popular addition to the legend.



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 15: AI, 461-2, BI, 430-1, Skald I, 212-13; Flat 1860-8, I, 2, Cederschiöld 1873, 3, Chase 2005, 65, 137.


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