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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Frag 5III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Fragments 5’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 156.

Einarr SkúlasonFragments


The helmingr (ESk Frag 5) must have belonged to an encomium honouring a king of Norway, and Jón Sigurðsson (SnE 1848-87, III, 357) assigned it to Einarr’s panegyric about the sons of Haraldr gillikristr (ESk HarsonkvII). The helmingr is preserved in mss R, , W, U, A and C of Skm (SnE), as well as in LaufE (mss 2368ˣ, 743ˣ) and in RE 1665(Ll), the latter of which has no independent value. Ms. U is the only ms. which contains all four lines, and it is therefore the main ms. The poet’s name is given as Einarr (without patronymic) in all mss of SnE and in 2368ˣ (it is omitted in 743ˣ).

text and translation

Leyg rýðr ætt á ægi
Óláfs skipa sólar
(ylgr brunar hvatt) ins helga
(hrægjǫrn í spor ǫrnum).

{Ætt ins helga Óláfs} rýðr {leyg {sólar skipa}} á ægi; hrægjǫrn ylgr brunar hvatt í spor ǫrnum.
‘The kinsman of the holy Óláfr [NORWEGIAN KING] reddens the flame of the ships’ sun [SHIELD > SWORD] at sea; the corpse-eager she-wolf rushes fast in the track of eagles.

notes and context

Sól skipa ‘sun of ships’ is given as one of many kennings for ‘shield’ in Skm and LaufE.



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 5: AI, 480, BI, 452, Skald I, 222, NN §2539; SnE 1848-87, I, 424-5, II, 329, 439, 589, III, 79-80, SnE 1931, 151, SnE 1998, I, 69; LaufE 1979, 397.


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