Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 62VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 62’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 57-8.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli

Bíðr allskonar œðri
— øruggt mælik þat — sælu
dýrðar váttr með dróttni
dyggr, an þjóð of hyggi,
þvít lausnara lýsir
(liðs valdr) numinn aldri
vinr (firði sik synðum)
slík verk á jarðríki.

{Dyggr váttr dýrðar} bíðr með dróttni allskonar sælu, œðri an þjóð of hyggi — øruggt mælik þat —, þvít {vinr lausnara}, numinn aldri, lýsir slík verk á jarðríki; valdr liðs firði sik synðum.

{The valiant witness of glory} [MARTYR] experiences with the Lord all kinds of blessedness, higher than people can imagine — I say that fearlessly —, because {the friend of the Saviour} [SAINT], taken from life, proclaims such works in the earthly kingdom; the ruler of men kept himself from sin.

Mss: Flat(2rb), Bb(118rb)

Readings: [2] mælik (‘mæli ek’): so Bb, ‘mæl ek’ Flat    [4] dyggr: so Bb, dyggri Flat    [5] þvít: ef Bb;    lýsir: so Bb, leysi Flat    [7] vinr: so Bb, langvinr Flat

Editions: Skj AI, 471, Skj BI, 443, Skald I, 218, NN §2537; Flat 1860-8, I, 6, Cederschiöld 1873, 9, Chase 2005, 112, 163.

Notes: [2] øruggt ‘fearlessly’: The word ordinarily means ‘certainly’ or ‘confidently’, but its literal meaning is ‘without fear’, and here it may refer to Einarr’s unrestrained comments on the crimes of Sigurðr’s mother and brothers. — [3] váttr dýrðar ‘witness of glory’: The kenning for Óláfr translates the concept ‘witness’, which is conveyed by the Church Lat. (ultimately Gk) martyr; cf. st. 6/1 and Pl 26/3. — [4] dyggr (m. nom. sg.) ‘valiant’: Bb’s adj. must be preferred here over Flat’s dyggri (comparative adj.), unless the latter is to be understood in a superlative sense ‘most valiant’. — [5] lýsir (3rd pers. sg. pres. indic.) ‘proclaims’: Bb’s reading, preferable to Flat’s leysi ‘may loosen, determine’ (3rd pers. sg. pres. subj.), which does not give good sense in context. — [5, 6] vinr lausnara ‘the friend of the Saviour’: ‘Friend of God’ is one of Einarr’s favourite periphrases for Óláfr. Cf. langvinr lausnara st. 68/1-2; also sts 9/6-8, 63/1-4 and 64/8. Flat reads langvinr (l.7), but this would produce an unmetrical l. — [6] numinn aldri ‘taken from life’: Cf. numin lifi ‘taken from life’, st. 17/8 and numinn ungr heðan frá miklu angri ‘taken young from here, from great affliction’ 63/1, 4.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Cederschiöld, Gustaf J. Chr., ed. 1873b. ‘Bandamanna saga’. Acta Universitatis Lundensis 10.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Internal references
  9. Jonna Louis-Jensen and Tarrin Wills (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Plácitusdrápa 26’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 197-8.

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