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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Mark Eirdr 24II

Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 24’ 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, pp. 453-4.

Markús SkeggjasonEiríksdrápa

text and translation

Blíðan gœddi bjǫrtum auði
Bjarnar hlýra Frakklands stýrir;
stórar lét sér randgarðs rýrir
ríks keisara gjafir líka.
Hônum lét til hervígs búna
harra spjalli láðmenn snjalla
alla leið, áðr ǫðlingr næði
Jóta grundar Césars fundi.

{Stýrir Frakklands} gœddi {blíðan hlýra Bjarnar} bjǫrtum auði; {rýrir randgarðs} lét sér líka stórar gjafir {ríks keisara}. {Spjalli harra} lét hônum snjalla láðmenn, búna til hervígs, alla leið, áðr {ǫðlingr {grundar Jóta}} næði fundi Césars.
‘The ruler of France [= Philip I] endowed the pleasant brother of Bjǫrn [= Eiríkr] with bright wealth; the diminisher of the shield-wall [WARRIOR] found himself pleased with the great gifts of the powerful emperor [= Henry IV]. The companion of lords [RULER = Henry IV] gave him brave guides, ready for battle, all the way, before the noble leader of the land of the Jótar [= Denmark > = Eiríkr] was able to meet Caesar.

notes and context

This st. is cited after the narrative of Eiríkr’s decision to go to Jerusalem, to support the saga’s account of gifts received from the Frankish king and Eiríkr’s renewed good terms with the Saxon emperor Henry IV.

Knýtl (ÍF 35, 232-3) provides no overt motivation for Eiríkr’s decision to embark on a journey to Jerusalem. According to Saxo (2005, II, 12, 6, 1-4, pp. 74-7), Eiríkr, a man of exceptional physical strength, had, at a moment of temporary insanity induced by a lyre-playing minstrel, killed four of his retainers. When he came to his senses, he decided to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to atone for his sins. A veiled reference to the reasons behind Eiríkr’s pilgrimage is provided in st. 26/1-4 below. — [5]: 20b I ends with the first element of the cpd her-.



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: Markús Skeggjason, 1. Eiríksdrápa 26: AI, 450, BI, 418-19, Skald I, 207; 1741, 164-5, ÍF 35, 233-4 (ch. 78).


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