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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 71VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 71’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 64-5.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli
7071

Bœn hefk, þengill, þína,
þrekrammr, stoðat framla;
iflaust hǫfum jǫfri
unnit mærð, sem kunnum.
Ágætr, segið, ítran,
Eysteinn, hvé brag leystak
— hôs elskið veg vísa
vagnræfrs — en ek þagna.

Þrekrammr þengill, hefk framla stoðat bœn þína; iflaust hǫfum unnit jǫfri mærð, sem kunnum. Ágætr Eysteinn, segið, hvé leystak ítran brag; elskið veg {vísa {hôs vagnræfrs}}; en ek þagna.

Courage-strong prince, I have excellently fulfilled your request; without a doubt we [I] have made praise to the king as we are [I am] able. Excellent Eysteinn, say how I have delivered the outstanding poem; love the honour {of the king {of the high wagon-roof}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God]; and I fall silent.

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

Readings: [1] þengill: ‘þeimgill’ corrected from ‘femgit’ or ‘feingit’ Bb    [5] segið: so Bb, segir Flat;    ítran: so Bb, œztan Flat    [6] Eysteinn: so Bb, om. Flat;    hvé: so Bb, ‘hue ek’ Flat;    leystak: so Bb, leysta Flat    [7] elskið: so Bb, ‘elskig’ Flat

Editions: Skj AI, 472-3, Skj BI, 445, Skald I, 219, NN §2056; Flat 1860-8, I, 7, Cederschiöld 1873, 10, Chase 2005, 121, 169-70.

Notes: [1] bœn ‘prayer, request’: The word (pl. bœnir 1/1) appears in key position in the first l. of the poem, and it is with a sense of symmetry that Einarr uses it here. — [5, 7]: segið ‘say’ and elskið ‘love’ (both 2nd pers. pl. imp.), which are Bb’s readings, are preferred here, and constitute a direct exhortation to Eysteinn. Flat’s ‘elskik’ (l. 7), if taken as elskak ‘I love’ or ‘may I love’, is also possible, if understood as a pious, self-reflexive exclamation by the poet. See Chase 2005, 121 and 169-70 for such a reading. — [7, 8] veg vísa hôs vagnræfrs ‘the honour of the king of the high wagon-roof’: The cpd vagnræfr ‘wagon-roof’ is a kenning for heaven: Karlsvagn was the ON name for the constellation Ursa Major; see Ník Jóndr 3/6 tyggi vagnbryggju ‘ruler of the wagon-bridge’ and Note ad loc. The adj. hás ‘high’ (m. gen. sg.) can be construed with either vísa ‘king’ or vagnræfrs. Vegr has two meanings: ‘way, path’ and ‘honour’, and Einarr may have intended both senses to be in play. — [8] en ek þagna ‘and I fall silent’: The abrupt conclusion is typical of medieval European poetry (see Curtius 1953, 89-91), and, although the small number of complete drápur makes it impossible to generalize, it is probably typical of skaldic poetry as well. The phrase appears again at the conclusion of HSt RstI.

References

  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. Curtius, Ernst R. 1953. European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages. Trans. Willard R. Trask. Bollingen Ser. 36. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Originally published 1948. Europäische literatur und lateinisches Mittelalter. Bern: Francke.
  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.
  9. Internal references
  10. Rolf Stavnem 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 893.
  11. Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2007, ‘Níkulás Bergsson, Jónsdrápa postula 3’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 68-9.
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