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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyv Lv 1I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur 1’ 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. 215.

Eyvindr skáldaspillir FinnssonLausavísur

text and translation

Blóðøxar téa beiða
brynþings fetilstinga
(oss gerask hneppt) ins hvassa
hefnendr (setuefni).
Heldr es vant, en vildak
veg þinn, konungr, segja
— fôum til fornra vápna
fljótt — hersǫgu dróttni.

Hefnendr ins hvassa Blóðøxar téa beiða {brynþings} {fetilstinga}; setuefni gerask oss hneppt. Es heldr vant segja dróttni hersǫgu, en vildak veg þinn, konungr; fôum fljótt til fornra vápna.
‘The avengers of the keen [Eiríkr] Blóðøx (‘Blood-axe’) are asking for a mail-shirt-assembly [BATTLE] with the sword-belt-stabber [SWORD]; the chances of peace are becoming scant for us. It is rather difficult to tell a lord a tale of war, but I wished for your honour, king; let us quickly reach for our old weapons.

notes and context

The sons of Gunnhildr obtain intelligence that Hákon is attending a seasonal feast (veizla) at Fitjar on the island of Storð (Stord). They sail to intercept him, with a full complement of warriors, under the immediate command of Eyvindr skreyja ‘Wretch’ Ǫzurarson tóta (see Lv 3/4, 4/2 and Note to Lv 3/4). Hákon is caught unawares while at his day-time meal. Members of his entourage delegate the task of alerting the king to Eyvindr (so Fsk; the Hkr narration does not reveal the identity of the attackers at first).

For the battle of Fitjar (c. 961), see also Lv 2-5 below, Eyv Hák 2-9, ÞSjár Þórdr and Glúmr Lv. — Eyvindr is given the following aphoristic speech: ‘Litil er liðanda stund hærra en langt matmal’, ‘It’s a short time for somebody sailing, my lord, but a long time for a meal’ (Fsk 1902-3, 36; similarly Hkr, ÓT). It is possible that Eyvindr’s lausavísa was based on such dialogue. — [7]: The line lacks skothending as it stands and some eds have attempted to supply it. Jón Þorkelsson (1884, 44) tentatively replaces fôum and variants with fǫrum ‘we go / let us go’. Kock (NN §§2216, 2509, 2902F, I, 3048, 3396H) emends vápna to varna ‘defences, defensive weapons’. But such regularisations are scarcely warranted: hendingar were not mandatory in odd lines (cf. Notes to Lv 14/3, 4 and 14/5).



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, 3. Lausavísur 1: AI, 71, BI, 62, Skald I, 39, NN §§253, 1079D, 2215, 2216, 2509, 2902F, I, 3048, 3396H; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 209, IV, 53, ÍF 26, 183-4, Hkr 1991, I, 117 (HákGóð ch. 28), F 1871, 80; Fms 1, 41, Fms 12, 28, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 40-1 (ch. 25), Flat 1860-8, I, 59; Fsk 1902-3, 36-7 (ch. 11), ÍF 29, 84-5 (ch. 12); Krause 1990, 205-10.


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