Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 23VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 23’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 25-6.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli

Þar kom blindr — en byrjak
blíð verk — muni síðar
auðar njótr, es ýtar
jǫfurs bein þvegit hǫfðu.
Sjónbrautir þó sínar,
seggjum kunns, í brunni
ôrr, þeims Óláfs dreyra,
orms landa, vas blandinn.

{Blindr njótr auðar} kom þar muni síðar, es ýtar hǫfðu þvegit jǫfurs bein; en byrjak blíð verk. {Ôrr {orms landa}} þó {sjónbrautir sínar} í brunni, þeims vas blandinn dreyra Óláfs, kunns seggjum.

{A blind enjoyer of wealth} [MAN] came there somewhat later, where men had washed the prince’s bones; and I will begin the happy work. {The messenger {of the serpent’s lands}} [GOLD > MAN] washed {his sight-paths} [EYES] in the spring which was blended with the blood of Óláfr, known to men.

Mss: Flat(2ra), Bb(117va)

Readings: [1] Þar kom: so Bb, Kom þar Flat    [5] þó: strauk Bb

Editions: Skj AI, 463, Skj BI, 432-3, Skald I, 213, NN §934; Flat 1860-8, I, 3, Cederschiöld 1873, 5, Chase 2005, 73, 144.

Notes: [1] þar kom ‘there came’: It is necessary to adopt Bb’s word order over Flat’s here in order to provide internal rhyme on a lift in position one. — [2] blíð verk ‘happy work’: This can refer either to Einarr’s work of poetry or Óláfr’s miraculous act of healing. — [3] njótr auðar ‘enjoyer of wealth [MAN]’: Einarr extends the sense of njótr in this traditional formula to signify not so much the material gifts of a chief to his retainers as the divine mercies people receive from God by way of the saint. He uses kennings of this type throughout the poem to indicate the beneficiaries of Óláfr’s miracles. — [5] þó ‘washed’: Skj B and Skald adopt Bb’s reading here, strauk < strjúka ‘to stroke, rub, wipe’; it is the difficilior lectio. — [7, 8] ôrr orms landa ‘messenger of the serpent’s lands [GOLD > MAN]’: The kenning is parallel to auðar njótr (l. 3). rr ‘servant’ or ‘messenger’ as a base-word may signify that the cured man is the vehicle through which Óláfr’s favour with God is made known in the world.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Cederschiöld, Gustaf J. Chr., ed. 1873b. ‘Bandamanna saga’. Acta Universitatis Lundensis 10.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. Cederschiöld, Gustaf J. Chr., ed. 1873a. Geisli eða Óláfs Drápa ens Helga er Einarr orti Skúlason: efter ‘Bergsboken’ utgifven. Acta Universitatis Lundensis 10. Lund: Berling.
  7. Chase, Martin, ed. 2005. Einarr Skúlason’s Geisli. A Critical Edition. Toronto Old Norse and Icelandic Studies 1. Toronto, Buffalo and London: Toronto University Press.
  8. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.

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