Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Mark Eirdr 26II

Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 26’ 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. 455-6.

Markús SkeggjasonEiríksdrápa

Lýst skal hitt, es læknask fýstisk
liðhraustr konungr sôr in iðri;
norðan fór með helming harðan
hersa mœðir sôl at grœða.
Harri bjósk til heims ins dýrra;
hann gerði fǫr út at kanna
— buðlungr vildi bjart líf ǫðlask —
byggð Jórsala friði tryggða.

Hitt skal lýst, es liðhraustr konungr fýstisk læknask in iðri sôr; {mœðir hersa} fór norðan með harðan helming at grœða sôl. Harri bjósk til ins dýrra heims; hann gerði fǫr út at kanna byggð Jórsala, tryggða friði; buðlungr vildi ǫðlask bjart líf.

It shall be made clear, that the troop-bold king was eager to cure his inner wounds; {the troubler of hersar} [RULER = Eiríkr] travelled from the north with a fierce unit to heal his soul. The lord prepared himself for the better world; he made his way out to explore the settlement of Jerusalem, secured with peace; the prince wished to gain a glorious life.

Mss: (166), 873ˣ(55r), 180b(31r-v), 20b II(3rb) (ll. 6-8) (Knýtl)

Readings: [1] fýstisk: so 180b, fýsti JÓ, 873ˣ    [2] sôr in iðri: fór sá norðan 180b    [3] norðan fór með helming harðan: enn með helming hǫrðum vǫrðu 180b    [6] hann gerði fǫr út at: ‘[…]’ 20b II    [8] friði: í friði 180b

Editions: Skj AI, 450, Skj BI, 419, Skald I, 207, NN §§3104, 3235; 1741, 166-7, ÍF 35, 235-6 (ch. 81).

Context: Eiríkr embarked on his journey to Jerusalem (see st. 24 above).

Notes: [1-4]: The helmingr hints at the motivation behind Eiríkr’s decision to go on the pilgrimage, namely, to do penance and get absolution for his sins (cf. Saxo’s account referred to in Note to st. 24 [All] above). — [2] liðhraustr ‘troop-bold’: Kock (NN §3235) suggests that lið may be ‘limb’ rather than ‘troop’, and that the cpd should be understood as ‘(physically) strong’, contrasting Eiríkr’s strength with his spiritual vulnerability. However, while this is certainly an attractive suggestion (according to Saxo, Eiríkr was a very tall and strong man; see Note to st. 24 [All]), other poetic compounds with lið- in the meaning ‘limb’ as the first element are kennings for gold rings (cf. LP: liðbál ‘limb-fire’; liðband ‘limb-band’; liðbrandr ‘limb-fire’), which makes Kock’s interpretation tenuous. — [3] helming ‘unit’: For this military term, see Note to Valg Har 4/1. — [7] bjart líf ‘a glorious life’: I.e. a glorious afterlife in heaven. — [8] tryggða friði ‘secured with peace’: See Notes to sts 8/3, 23/5.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. ÍF 35 = Danakonunga sǫgur. Ed. Bjarni Guðnason. 1982.
  5. 1741 = Jón Ólafsson, ed. 1741. Æfi dana-konunga eda Knytlinga saga: Historia Cnutidarum regum Daniæ. Copenhagen: [n. p.].
  6. Internal references
  7. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Valgarðr á Velli, Poem about Haraldr harðráði 4’ 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, p. 303.

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