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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eskál Vell 36I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, Vellekla 36’ 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. 328.

Einarr skálaglamm HelgasonVellekla

Gollsendir lætr grundar
— glaðar þengill her drengja —
— hans mæti knák hljóta —
hljót Yggs mjaðar njóta.

{Gollsendir} lætr {hljót grundar} njóta {mjaðar Yggs}; þengill glaðar her drengja; knák hljóta mæti hans.

{The gold-distributor} [GENEROUS MAN = Einarr, I] lets {the recipient of land} [RULER] enjoy {the mead of Yggr <= Óðinn>} [POEM]; the ruler gladdens the host of warriors; I can receive his precious gifts.

Mss: R(33r), Tˣ(34v), W(76), U(31v), A(10r), B(5v), C(4r) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Gollsendir lætr: ‘[…]l sendir l[…]tr’ U    [2] glaðar: glaðr A, gleðr C;    drengja: so C, drengi R, Tˣ, W, A, ‘[…]’ U, lengi B    [3] mæti: ‘[...]’ U, mætti B, C;    knák (‘kna ec’): ‘[...]na ek’ U, kná B;    hljóta: om. B, ‘hlýða’ C    [4] hljót: ‘hljó’ U;    Yggs: ygg C

Editions: Skj AI, 130, Skj BI, 123, Skald I, 69, NN §410; SnE 1848-87, I, 406-7, II, 323, 434, 534, 583, SnE 1931, 145, SnE 1998, I, 62.

Context: The helmingr is quoted in SnE (Skm) to illustrate how ‘gold’ is used in kennings for ‘man’ (specifying gollsendir ‘gold-distributor’).

Notes: [All]: The stanza, with its unequivocal presumption of a reward for the composition, is part of the conclusion of the drápa. Krömmelbein (1983, 175) views it as a stef stanza on the basis of the poetry-kenning, but this is insufficient evidence. Referring to an episode of Jvs, Ohlmarks (1958, 387) claims that the stanza introduced the section about the battle with the Jómsvíkingar (see Introduction). — [1] gollsendir ‘the gold-distributor [GENEROUS MAN = Einarr, I]’: (a) A kenning designating someone other than a ruler as a ‘generous man’ is unusual in a C10th drápa, but there is a parallel in Jór Send 5/1, where the poet Guthormr sindri is referred to as stríðir hringa ‘enemy of rings [GENEROUS MAN]’. (b) Ohlmarks (1958, 387-8) and Davidson (1983, 396-8), following Kock (NN §410), take a different approach, reading Gollsendir lætr hljót mjaðar Yggs njóta grundar ... ‘The gold-distributor [GENEROUS MAN = Hákon jarl] lets the owner of the mead of Yggr [POEM > POET] enjoy land ...’. However, there is little or no evidence for skalds being rewarded with land.


  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. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Krömmelbein, Thomas. 1983. Skaldische Metaphorik. Studien zur Funktion der Kenningsprache in skaldischen Dichtungen des 9. und 10. Jahrhunderts. Hochschulproduktionen 7. Kirchzarten: Burg-Verlag.
  6. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  7. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  8. Davidson, Daphne L. 1983. ‘Earl Hákon and his Poets’. D. Phil. thesis. Oxford.
  9. Ohlmarks, Åke. 1958. Tors skalder och Vite-Krists. Trosskiftestidens isländska furstelovskalder, 980-1013. Stockholm: Geber.
  10. Internal references
  11. 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].
  12. Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Biography of) Guthormr sindri’ 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. 154.
  13. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
  14. Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Jórunn skáldmær, Sendibítr 5’ 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. 149.

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