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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyv Hál 13I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 13’ 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. 212.

Eyvindr skáldaspillir FinnssonHáleygjatal

text and translation

Jólna sumbl
enn vér gôtum
stillis lof
sem steinabrú.

Vér gôtum enn {sumbl jólna}, lof stillis, sem steinabrú.
‘We [I] have produced once more a feast of the gods [POETRY], praise of the ruler, like a bridge of stones.

notes and context

The helmingr is used to exemplify jólnar as a heiti for ‘gods’.

[1] sumbl jólna ‘a feast of the gods [POETRY]’: In this unusual kenning the determinant is gen. of jóln (n. nom. pl.), a term for the gods associated with the feast of Yuletide (jól). There may be an allusion to the beginning of the myth of the poetic mead, where the gods meet for a feast. Kock (NN §2305) suggests that jólna sumbl belongs to a previous clause, contained in a lost helmingr, and Faulkes (SnE 1998, I, 207) mentions this as a possibility. — [4] sem steinabrú ‘like a bridge of stones’: Like the reference to a feast in l. 1, the comparison to a stone-built bridge aligns the production of the poem with another communal function of great social importance, and poem and bridge are artifacts both enduring and commemorative (on bridges, see Sawyer 2000, 134-6). In the ancestral religion as well as early Christianity, bridges could constitute not merely physical passages from the place of settlement to the graveyard but also symbolic passages from the living to the dead, and commemorative rune-stones were customarily erected in the vicinity (Lund 2005, 129).



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: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 2. Háleygjatal 16: AI, 71, BI, 62, Skald I, 39, NN §2305; SnE 1848-87, I, 470-1, II, 340, 448, SnE 1931, 166, SnE 1998, I, 85; Krause 1990, 201-4.


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