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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

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.

Mss: R(36v), Tˣ(38v), U(36r), A(12v), C(6r) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Jólna sumbl: þolnar at U, ‘iǫlna’ A    [3] lof: om. A

Editions: Skj AI, 71, Skj 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.

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

Notes: [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. — [2] enn ‘once more’: The word carries stress and alliteration, and hence the adv. is indicated, rather than conj. en ‘but, and’. — [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).


  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. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  6. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  7. Krause, Arnulf, ed. 1990. Die Dichtung des Eyvindr skáldaspillir: Edition-Kommentar-Untersuchungen. Altnordische Bibliothek 10. Leverkusen: Literaturverlag Norden Mark Reinhardt.
  8. Lund, Julie. 2005. ‘Thresholds and Passages: The Meanings of Bridges and Crossings in the Viking Age and Early Middle Ages’. Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 1, 109-36.
  9. Sawyer, Birgit. 2000. The Viking-Age Rune-Stones. Custom and Commemoration in Early Medieval Scandinavia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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