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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eskál Vell 6I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, Vellekla 6’ 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. 290.

Einarr skálaglamm HelgasonVellekla

text and translation

Ok oddneytir úti
eiðvandr flota breiðan
glaðr í Gǫndlar veðrum
— gramr svafði bil — hafði.
Ok rauðmána reynir
rógsegl Heðins bóga
upp hóf jǫfra kappi
etjulund at setja.

Ok {eiðvandr oddneytir}, glaðr í {veðrum Gǫndlar}, hafði breiðan flota úti; gramr svafði bil. Ok {reynir {rauðmána bóga Heðins}} hóf upp {rógsegl} kappi jǫfra at setja etjulund.
‘And the oath-true arrow-user [WARRIOR], glad in the winds of Gǫndul <valkyrie> [BATTLES], had a great fleet out at sea; the ruler ended delay. And the tester of the red moon of the arm of Heðinn <legendary hero> [SHIELD > WARRIOR] raised the strife-sail [SHIELD] with the vigour of rulers to calm the spirit of aggression.

notes and context

After the death of Sigurðr jarl, his son Hákon is able to hold on to power in Þrándheimr (Trøndelag) for three years with the help of his friends. He fights several battles against the Eiríkssynir (Gunnhildarsynir), at which many are killed. Hkr cites sts 6-8 in unbroken sequence; ÓT inserts a brief link between sts 6 and 7.

[1-4]: There have been various opinions as to how l. 3 relates to the main and intercalary clauses of the first helmingr. (a) In this edn, the intercalary clause consists only of gramr svafði bil ‘the ruler ended delay’ (l. 4; cf. NN §393; ÍF 26; Hkr 1991); Kock (NN §1825) collected many examples of this kind of division of the fourth line. Line 3, glaðr í veðrum Gǫndlar is taken as part of the main clause, qualifying oddneytir, hence ‘the arrow-user [WARRIOR], glad in the winds of Gǫndul [BATTLES]’ (following Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 105-6). Keeping the same arrangement of clauses, ‘in the winds of Gǫndul’ might instead be taken as a prepositional phrase meaning that the ruler had deployed his fleet in battle (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; ÍF 26; Hkr 1991), but this is less likely because it would have to be linked to úti ‘out at sea’ in l. 1. Alternative clause arrangements are as follows. (b) The intercalary clause could comprise glaðr gramr svafði bil í veðrum Gǫndlar ‘the glad ruler ended delay in the winds of Gǫndul [BATTLES]’ (Fms 12; Vell 1865, 8; CPB II, 44; Reichardt 1928, 10-12). The meaning of this is problematic because, at the time of battle, any delay has already been overcome. Moreover, the syntax and word order would hardly be acceptable. (c) The intercalary clause could comprise glaðr gramr svafði bil ‘the glad ruler ended delay’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B). Whereas Kock (NN §§393, 1825) rejects this version because of its convoluted word order, Reichardt (1928, 11) thinks it more poetic.



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 Helgason skálaglamm, 3. Vellekla 7: AI, 123, BI, 118, Skald I, 66, NN §§393, 1825, 1826, 1853A, 2241; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 236, IV, 66-7; ÍF 26, 208-9, Hkr 1991, I, 138-9 (HGráf ch. 6), F 1871, 89; Fms 1, 56, Fms 12, 31-2, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 55 (ch. 35).


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