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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Frag 2III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Fragments 2’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 153.

Einarr SkúlasonFragments


This helmingr (ESk Frag 2) must have been part of an encomium honouring a king of Norway (see konungs Hǫrða ‘of the king of the Hǫrðar’ (l. 2) and Fidjestøl 1982, 100-1), but his identity cannot be established. Jón Sigurðsson (SnE 1848-87, III, 354) assigned the half-stanza to Einarr’s panegyric about Sigurðr jórsalafari ‘Jerusalem-farer’ (ESk Sigdr III). That attribution is highly unlikely, however, because all extant stanzas of that encomium are composed in the preterite tense and this helmingr, as well as the other stanzas which Jón assigns to that poem (Frag 10-11, 14-16 below), is in the present tense. The half-stanza is preserved in mss R (main ms.), , W and U of Skm (SnE) and it is attributed to Einarr in all mss, but no patronymic is given for him. He is more likely to be Einarr Skúlason than Einarr skálaglamm ‘Tinkle-scales’ Helgason (EskálI), the other skald designated as ‘Einarr’ in Skm, because Einarr skálaglamm is not known to have composed about any kings of Norway.

text and translation

Snáks berr fald of frœknu
folkvǫrðr — konungs Hǫrða
frama telr greppr fyr gumnum —
geðsnjallr skarar fjalli.

{Geðsnjallr folkvǫrðr} berr {fald snáks} of {frœknu fjalli skarar}; greppr telr frama {konungs Hǫrða} fyr gumnum.
‘The quick-witted guardian of the people [RULER] wears the headdress of the serpent [HELMET] on his heroic mountain of hair [HEAD]; the poet recounts the prowess of the king of the Hǫrðar [NORWEGIAN KING] before men.

notes and context

Folkvǫrðr ‘guardian of the people’ (R: foldvǫrðr ‘guardian of the earth’) is given in Skm as one of several kennings for ‘king’.



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, 12. Ubestemmelige vers, tilhørende forskellige fyrstedigte eller lausavísur 2: AI, 480, BI, 452, Skald I, 222; SnE 1848-87, I, 454-5, II, 335, III, 92, SnE 1931, 160, SnE 1998, I, 79.


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