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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Frag 3III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Fragments 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 154.

Einarr SkúlasonFragments
234

The half-stanza (ESk Frag 3) commemorates the gift of a precious drinking horn and was likely part of a poem composed for a ruler or magnate in return for his munificence. Jón Sigurðsson (SnE 1848-87, III, 364) assigned it to a no-longer extant poem about the Norwegian chieftain Eindriði ungi ‘the Young’, probably because Einarr is said to have composed poetry in his honour (SnE 1848-87, III, 269, 286, and cf. ESk Geisl 45/3VII). There is, however, nothing in this stanza to warrant such an attribution. The name of the poet is given as Einarr in all mss, but no patronymic is recorded for him (see Note to Frag 2 [All] above). Because Einarr often describes the items he has received as gifts in return for his poetry (see ESk Øxfl above), the attribution of this stanza to him is likely to be correct. The helmingr is recorded in mss R (main ms.), , A, B (and 744ˣ) and C of Skm (SnE).

Næst sék orm á jastar
ítrserki vel merkðan
(nemi bjóðr, hvé ferk) flœðar
(fjarðbáls, of þat máli).

Næst sék orm, vel merkðan, á {ítrserki {flœðar jastar}}; nemi {bjóðr {fjarðbáls}}, hvé ferk máli of þat.

Next I see a serpent, well engraved, on {the splendid shirt {of the yeast’s flood}} [BEER > DRINKING HORN]; may {the donor {of fjord-fire}} [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] learn how I treat that in speech.

Mss: R(38v), Tˣ(40r), A(13v), B(6r), 744ˣ(37r), C(8r) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Næst: ‘Æst’ C;    orm á: orma C;    orm: ‘[…]m’ B, ‘ọṛm’ 744ˣ;    jastar: rastar C    [2] merkðan: ‘merkt[…]’ B, merkta 744ˣ, C    [3] nemi bjóðr hvé ferk flœðar (‘nemi bioðr hve ec fer flæþar’): ‘[…]lodar’ B, ‘nemi bíoðr hue ek fer flódar’ 744ˣ;    hvé: hví C;    flœðar: ‘flodar’ Tˣ    [4] fjarð‑: fjaðr‑ A, B;    þat: so A, B, hlyn R, Tˣ, C;    máli: mála C

Editions: Skj AI, 480, Skj BI, 452, Skald I, 222; SnE 1848-87, I, 504-5, II, 453, 536, 602, III, 106, SnE 1931, 177, SnE 1998, I, 97.

Context: Fjarð- ‘fjord-’ is given among the heiti for ‘sea’ in Skm.

Notes: [3, 4] hvé ferk máli of þat ‘how I treat that in speech’: Lit. ‘how I fare with speech about that’. For fara ‘go, travel, fare’ with dat. in the meaning ‘compose’, see LP: fara 10 and ESk Geisl 8/4VII hvé ferk verka ‘how I deliver the work’. — [4] þat ‘that’: So A, B. The variant hlyn (m. acc. sg.) ‘maple’ (R, , C) could be construed as a part of a man-kenning (of hlyn fjarðbáls ‘about the tree of the fjord-fire’; so SnE 1998, I, 97), but that reading leaves an awkward half-kenning bjóðr ‘donor’ (of the drinking vessel) as the subject of the clause. Sveinbjörn Egilsson (SnE 1848-87, III) retains of hlyn, which he construes with flœðar ‘of the flood’ (l. 3) and takes as a kenning for ‘ship’ (of hlyn flœðar ‘about the maple of the flood’). While that is certainly possible, it leaves an unsatisfactory kenning for ‘drinking horn’ (ítrserki jastar ‘the splendid shirt of yeast’, ll. 1-2), and, furthermore, the stanza describes a splendid drinking horn and not a ship.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  6. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  7. Internal references
  8. Edith Marold 2017, ‘Snorra Edda (Prologue, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál)’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  9. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
  10. Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr Skúlason, Øxarflokkr’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 140.
  11. Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 45’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 44.
  12. Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 8’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 13-14.
  13. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Fragments 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 154.
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