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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Glúmr Gráf 4I

Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa 4’ 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. 252.

Glúmr GeirasonGráfeldardrápa

text and translation

Austrlǫndum fórsk undir
allvaldr, sás gaf skǫldum
— hann fekk gagn at gunni —
gunnhǫrga slǫg mǫrgum.
Slíðrtungur lét syngva
sverðleiks reginn — ferðir
sendi gramr at grundu
gollvarpaða* — snarpar.

Allvaldr, sás gaf mǫrgum skǫldum {slǫg {gunnhǫrga}}, fórsk undir austrlǫndum; hann fekk gagn at gunni. {Reginn {sverðleiks}} lét {snarpar slíðrtungur} syngva; gramr sendi ferðir {gollvarpaða*} at grundu.
‘The mighty ruler, who gave many poets strikers of battle-temples [SHIELDS > WEAPONS], subdued eastern lands; he gained success in war. The god of sword-play [BATTLE > WARRIOR] made keen scabbard-tongues [SWORDS] sing; the prince sent troops of gold-throwers [GENEROUS MEN] to the ground.

notes and context

The Eiríkssynir (or Gunnhildarsynir) have left Orkney for the court of Haraldr Gormsson, king of Denmark, who fosters the young Haraldr gráfeldr. Some of the Eiríkssynir undertake raids in the Baltic.

The reference to Gráf 4 in the Note to Anon Líkn 16/7VII is to the stanza now numbered 5 below. — Despite a shared reference to the Baltic region, there is a poor fit between the stanza and its prose context, since its focus on an individual contrasts with the account in the prose of the Eiríkssynir as a group. Moreover, that individual is clearly a king (allvaldr ‘mighty ruler’, l. 2), whereas Haraldr, according to Hkr, is a young prince at the time, not even the eldest of the brothers (since his brother Gamli is still alive), and under the patronage of the Danish king. This discrepancy could be explained by the role of the stanza within a drápa composed retrospectively about Haraldr once he has achieved kingly status, but the stanza does not identify him specifically.



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: Glúmr Geirason, 2. Gráfeldardrápa 3: AI, 76, BI, 66, Skald I, 41, NN §§256, 257; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 180-1, IV, 49, ÍF 26, 162-3, Hkr 1991, I, 103 (HákGóð ch. 10), F 1871, 70; Fms 1, 30, Fms 12, 27, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 29 (ch. 19), Flat 1860-8, I, 54 .


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