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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyv Hál 5I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 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. 203.

Eyvindr skáldaspillir FinnssonHáleygjatal

Ok náreiðr
á nesi drúpir
þars víkr deilir.
Þars fjǫlkunnt
of fylkis hrør
steini merkt

Ok náreiðr vingameiðr drúpir á nesi, þars deilir víkr. Þars fjǫlkunnt Straumeyjarnes merkt steini of hrør fylkis.

And the corpse-bearing swaying tree droops on the headland, where it separates the bays. There the well-known Straumeyjarnes is marked by a stone over the ruler’s body.

Mss: (24r), F(4rb), J2ˣ(13r) (Hkr)

Readings: [4] víkr: viku J2ˣ    [5] ‑kunnt: ‑kunnr Kˣ, F, ‘‑kynt’ J2ˣ    [6] hrør: ‘hrǿ̨ðr’ F, ‘hreyr’ J2ˣ    [7] merkt: so J2ˣ, merktr Kˣ, F    [8] Straumeyjar‑: straum eyrar F, ‘streym æyrar’ J2ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 69, Skj BI, 61, NN §1787; Skald I, 38; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 42, IV, 13, ÍF 26, 44-5, Hkr 1991, I, 25 (Yng ch. 23), F 1871, 16; Krause 1990, 164-6.

Context: See st. 4.

Notes: [1] náreiðr ‘corpse-bearing’: A hap. leg., cf. reiða ‘to carry, brandish’. — [3] vingameiðr ‘swaying tree’: This is probably not to be interpreted as a kenning for ‘gallows’ but as referring to the use of a living tree as a gallows, as in the story of Víkarr in Gautreks saga (Gautr 1954, 30-1). Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) prefers to explain the first element as vindga- ‘windy’, with reference to Hávm 138/2 (ec hecc vindgameiði á ‘I hung on the windy tree’, NK 40). — [4] deilir ‘it separates’: The usage is impersonal, but it is clearly the headland that separates the bays (ÍF 26). — [5-8]: Here Straumeyjarnes (l. 8) is taken as the subject of [e]s ‘is’ (l. 5) and merkt steini ‘marked by a stone’ (l. 7) as its complement, with fjǫlkunnt ‘well-known’ (l. 5) as an adj. qualifying Straumeyjarnes, but other construals are possible. The prose order in Skj B gives ‘There Straumeyjarnes, well-known because of the ruler’s grave, is marked with a stone’, which Kock (NN §1787) rejects, preferring a construal that gives ‘There is [stands] the well-known Straumeyjarnes, marked with a stone over the ruler’s grave’ (so also Hkr 1991). ÍF 26 takes fjǫlkunnt as the complement. — [5] fjǫlkunnt ‘well-known’: Or ‘known to many’. A minor emendation is necessary. The notion is presumably that the burial mound is now a well-recognised navigational mark, like that of Beowulf (Beowulf ll. 3156-60); burial mounds are often prominently placed on headlands and ridges along major communication routes (cf. Note to st. 8/5, 8). — [6] of ‘over’: In this edn it is assumed that ms. um, as frequently, represents the prep. (normalised) of, and that it refers to the position of the stone marker, i.e. over the burial. Finnur Jónsson reads of and explains it as af ‘on account of’, linked with fjǫlkun(n)t ‘well-known’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B). ÍF 26 reads um and also tentatively suggests sökum ‘on account of’. — [6] hrør ‘body’: This is the reading of the main ms., and the F reading may be a corruption of it. It is possible that the variant hreyr in J2ˣ represents an older form of a word for ‘burial place, cairn’; cf. Þjóð Yt 6/2 and Note. — [7] steini ‘by a stone’: The sg. may imply a single bautasteinn ‘memorial stone’ (cf. ÍF 26; Davidson 1983, 111-12; Hkr 1991). Alternatively steinn could be used in a collective sense to indicate a stone-built burial mound: so Hkr 1893-1901, IV, presumably to reconcile the verse with Hkr’s account of a burial mound (haug, Context to st. 4). — [8] Straumeyjarnes: The variant -eyrar- ‘spit of land’ found in J2ˣ and F in this stanza and the preceding prose is also possible. The p. n. Straumeyjarnes (in either variant) is of a common type and the locality remains unidentified (ÍF 26). While it is possible that an island off the Norwegian coast is intended (there are several with the modern name Straumøya(n)), Hkr localises the action to the Danish coast (see Context to st. 4), with corroboration from Þjóð Yt 12/4 that Jǫrundr was active in the Limfjorden area.


  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. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  6. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  7. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  9. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  10. Davidson, Daphne L. 1983. ‘Earl Hákon and his Poets’. D. Phil. thesis. Oxford.
  11. Krause, Arnulf, ed. 1990. Die Dichtung des Eyvindr skáldaspillir: Edition-Kommentar-Untersuchungen. Altnordische Bibliothek 10. Leverkusen: Literaturverlag Norden Mark Reinhardt.
  12. Gautr 1954 = FSGJ 4, 1-50.
  13. Internal references
  14. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  15. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Gautreks saga’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 241.
  16. Not published: do not cite (YngII)
  17. Not published: do not cite ()
  18. Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 12’ 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. 28.
  19. Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 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. 17.
  20. Not published: do not cite ()

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