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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eir Lv 1II

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Eiríkr, Lausavísa 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 612-13.


Bœir eru brenndir,         en búendr ræntir,
— svá hefr Sveinn hagat —         sex í morgin.
Gerði hann einum         œrinn þeira;
leigir þar kol         leigumanni.

Sex bœir eru brenndir í morgin, en búendr ræntir; Sveinn hefr hagat svá. Hann gerði œrinn einum þeira; leigir kol þar leigumanni.

Six farms have been burned this morning, and the farmers robbed; Sveinn has arranged this. He did plenty for [each] one of them; [he] rents out charcoal there to the one who rents.

Mss: Flat(138va) (Orkn)

Editions: Skj AI, 528-9, Skj BI, 509, Skald I, 249, NN §3118; Flat 1860-8, II, 466, Orkn 1887, 137, Orkn 1913-16, 200, ÍF 34, 179-80 (ch. 78), Bibire 1988, 227-8.

Context: Having landed in Wales at an unidentified place called Jarlsnes, Sveinn Ásleifarson’s troop meet little opposition and burn six farms before dagverðr ‘breakfast’ (ÍF 34, 179).

Notes: [5] einum ‘for [each] one’: Skj B emends this to eim ‘bonfire’, while Kock (NN §3118) prefers to see ms. ‘einū’ as a misreading of ‘eimī’, i.e. eiminn. The ms. reading is preferable on metrical grounds and can also be made to make sense. Finnbogi Guðmundsson (ÍF 34) assumed an understood object such as kostr (similarly Orkn 1887), to be rendered something like ‘he provided each one of them with sufficient benefits’, but meant ironically. Some noun in the acc. sg. (such as kost) is implied by the m. acc. form of œrinn ‘plenty’ (l. 6). — [7-8]: These ll. are clearly intended as an expansion or explanation of the statement in ll. 5-6, but neither statement is very clear. Presumably the ironical meaning is that Sveinn ‘benefited’ the tenant farmers whose farms he has just burnt down by providing them with charcoal in the form of their own houses. A similar sentiment is expressed in Þorm Lv 18aV, 18bI.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  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. 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.
  6. ÍF 34 = Orkneyinga saga. Ed. Finnbogi Guðmundsson. 1965.
  7. Orkn 1913-16 = Sigurður Nordal, ed. 1913-16. Orkneyinga saga. SUGNL 40. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. Bibire, Paul. 1988. ‘The Poetry of Earl Rǫgnvaldr’s Court’. In Crawford 1988, 208-40.
  9. Orkn 1887 = Gudbrand Vigfusson 1887-94, I.
  10. Internal references
  11. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld, Lausavísur 18’ 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. 829.

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