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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Glúmr Gráf 11I

Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa 11’ 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. 260.

Glúmr GeirasonGráfeldardrápa

text and translation

Varð á víðu borði
viggjum hollr at liggja
gætir Glamma sóta
garðs Eylimafjarðar.
Sendir fell á sandi
sævar báls at Halsi;
olli jǫfra spjalli
orðheppinn því morði.

{Gætir {garðs {sóta Glamma}}}, hollr viggjum, varð at liggja á víðu borði Eylimafjarðar. {Sendir {báls sævar}} fell á sandi at Halsi; {orðheppinn spjalli jǫfra} olli því morði.
‘The guardian of the fence of the steed of Glammi <sea-king> [SHIP > SHIELD > WARRIOR], benevolent to horses, had to lie on the wide shore of Eylimi’s fjord [Limfjorden]. The dispenser of the fire of the sea [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN = Haraldr] fell on the sand at Hals; the speech-blessed confidant of princes [JARL = Hákon] caused that killing.

notes and context

In Hkr, the stanza follows a statement that Haraldr gráfeldr fell in battle. In Fsk, sts 10 and 11/5-8 form a stanza that is cited as evidence for the battle having taken place on land, presumably since Haraldr is said to die á sandi at Halsi ‘on the sand at Hals’ (l. 6).

The reference to Gráf 11 in the Note to Arn Hardr 13/2II is to the stanza now numbered Gráf 12. — [1-4]: (a) The interpretation adopted here is essentially that of Sveinbjörn Egilsson (Fms 12; see also NN §259 and ÍF 26), taking Eylimafjarðar ‘of Eylimi’s fjord’ as a punning reference to Limafjǫrðr (Limfjorden), or perhaps reflecting a serious antiquarian belief that the p. n. derived from that of a legendary king (LP: Eylimi). Ey and lima are written as one word in many mss. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B) detaches ey ‘island’ from Limafjarðar ‘of Limfjorden’ and incorporates it in the kenning viggjum eygarðs ‘(with the) horses of the island-enclosure [SEA > SHIPS]’. Liggja then means not ‘lie (dead)’ but ‘lie at anchor’ (cf., e.g., ÞjóðA Har 5/5II). This produces a bland statement that does not relate to the death of Haraldr that is so prominent in the second helmingr. Further, viggjum hollr ‘benevolent to horses’, consecutive in the text, are separated, while eygarðs is read as a cpd, which involves assuming tmesis, which is rare in the earlier skaldic poetry. Interpretation (a) therefore seems preferable, despite the difficulty of hollr viggjum ‘benevolent to horses’ (see Note to l. 2).



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 9: AI, 77, BI, 67, Skald I, 41, NN §§259, 260Hkr 1893-1901, I, 277, IV, 72, ÍF 26, 239, Hkr 1991, I, 159 (ÓTHkr ch. 14), F 1871, 104Fms 1, 88, Fms 12, 33, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 95 (ch. 53), Flat 1860-8, I, 85; Fsk 1902-3, 66 (ch. 14), ÍF 29, 109 (ch. 16).


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