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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 31VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 31’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 32.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli
303132

text and translation

Reyndi Gutthormr grundar
— gat rétt — við þrǫm sléttan,
áðr hvat Óláfs téðu
alkœns við guð bœnir.
Dag lét sinn með sigri
sóknþýðr jǫfurr prýðask,
þás í Ǫngulseyjar-
undreyr bitu -sundi.

Gutthormr reyndi við sléttan þrǫm grundar, hvat bœnir alkœns Óláfs téðu áðr við guð; gat rétt. Sóknþýðr jǫfurr lét dag sinn prýðask með sigri, þás {undreyr} bitu í Ǫngulseyjarsundi.
 
‘Gutthormr proved on the flat coast of the land how the prayers of much-skilled Óláfr previously prevailed with God; he guessed correctly. The battle-happy king caused his day to be adorned with victory, when wound-reeds [ARROWS] bit in the Menai Strait.

notes and context

The story of Gutthormr Gunnhildarson occupies sts 31-4. This man was S. Óláfr’s nephew, son of his half-sister Gunnhildr. After a raid on the island of Angelsey, Gutthormr quarrelled with his Irish raiding partner Margaðr over the spoils and a fight ensued. Although Gutthormr’s war-band was the weaker, he prayed to Óláfr on the evening before the fight (which took place on S. Óláfr’s feast day, 29 July) and Óláfr helped him to win. In gratitude he donated a silver cross to the saint, which would have been visible in the cathedral at Trondheim as Einarr recited his drápa. The story of Gutthormr appears in numerous versions of the Óláfr-legend (Louis-Jensen 1970, 35; ÓHLeg 1982, 210-12; Hkr, ÍF 28, 135-7; ÓH 1941, 631-3; for further details, see Chase 2005, 39 and 227 n. 107; Gade 2004, 218-20). Sts 31-3 are missing from the Flat text, probably due to the scribe’s carelessness. St. 30 lies at the end of a column in the ms., and the following column begins with st. 34. Both sts 30 and 33 have the stef as the second helmingr, and when the scribe shifted columns he probably mistook the conclusion of st. 33 for st. 30. The inclusion of st. 34 proves that the scribe’s exemplar contained the story of Gutthormr. The missing sts are supplied from the Bb text, the only witness. — [1-4]: The syntax of the first helmingr is slightly awkward. Finnur Jónsson construes Gutthormr reyndi við sléttan þrǫm grundar, hvat bænir alkæns Óláfs téðu við goð; hann gat áðr rétt ‘Gutthormr proved on the flat coast of the land how the prayers of much-skilled Óláfr prevailed with God; he had guessed correctly previously’ (Skj B). Kock takes gat hann rétt ‘he guessed correctly’ as a parenthesis and reads áðr hvat as hvat áðr, arguing convincingly that such transposition in correlative constructions was an accepted technique (NN §§937 and 246D). His interpretation makes better sense: ‘Gutthormr proved on the flat coast of the land how previously the prayers of much-skilled Óláfr prevailed with God; he guessed correctly’.

sources

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 31: AI, 465, BI, 434-5, Skald I, 214, NN §937; Cederschiöld 1873, 5, Chase 2005, 81, 147-8.

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