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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Erlfl 10I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Flokkr about Erlingr Skjálgsson 10’ 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. 642.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonFlokkr about Erlingr Skjálgsson
910

Erlingi varð engi
annarr lendra manna,
ǫrr sás átti fleiri
orrostur stoð þorrinn.
Þrek bar seggr við sóknir
sinn, þvít fyrst gekk innan,
mildr, í marga hildi,
mest, en ór á lesti.

Varð engi lendra manna annarr Erlingi, sás ǫrr, þorrinn stoð, átti fleiri orrostur. Mildr seggr bar mest þrek sinn við sóknir, þvít gekk fyrst innan í marga hildi, en ór á lesti.

There was no-one among district chieftains other than Erlingr, who, bold, deprived of support, held more battles. The generous man deployed his stamina to the utmost in onslaughts, because he went first into many a fight, and out as the last.

Mss: (231r) (Hkr); Holm2(9r), R686ˣ(16v), J1ˣ(146r), J2ˣ(126v), 321ˣ(38), 325VI(7ra), 73aˣ(25r), 78aˣ(25r-v), 68(8r) (ll. 1-2), 61(81vb) (ll. 1-2), 75c(6r), 325V(11rb), Bb(130va), Tóm(98v) (ll. 1-2) (ÓH); 61(70rb-va), 53(67ra), 54(68va), 325VIII 2 g(2va), Bb(104rb), Flat(71vb) (ll. 1-2) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] varð: var Holm2, R686ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 321ˣ, Tóm, 325VIII 2 g, Bb(104rb)    [2] manna: drengja Bb(130va)    [3] ǫrr: so J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 325V, 54, ór er Kˣ, 61(70rb), ‘orr’ Holm2, 325VIII 2 g, Bb(104rb), ok 75c, ‘ar’ Bb(130va), ‘oręrr’ 53;    sás (‘sa er’): sá at 78aˣ;    átti: ætti 321ˣ, 73aˣ, 78aˣ;    fleiri: ‘storri’ R686ˣ    [4] orrostur stoð þorrinn: stoð þorinn orrostu Bb(130va);    stoð þorrinn: fjǫlkostigr J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 321ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ    [5] við sóknir: so Holm2, R686ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 75c, Bb(130va), 61(70rb), 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb(104rb), til sóknar Kˣ, at sinni 325V    [6] sinn þvít fyrst gekk innan: snarr í éli darra 321ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, sín ok gekk fyr innan 325V    [7] hildi: hild 325V    [8] en: er 321ˣ;    ór á: aura R686ˣ;    ór: ‘orr’ Holm2, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb(104rb), ǫrr J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 325V, ‘ęr’ Bb(130va);    á lesti: at flestu J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 321ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 325V, lesti Bb(130va)

Editions: Skj AI, 247, Skj BI, 231, Skald I, 120; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 30, IV, 114-15, ÍF 27, 29, Hkr 1991, I, 269 (ÓHHkr ch. 22); ÓH 1941, I, 61 (ch. 30), Flat 1860-8, I, 537; ÓT 1958-2000, II, 302-3 (ch. 261); Jón Skaptason 1983, 122, 268.

Context: Erlingr’s qualities are listed and he is compared with Óláfr Tryggvason.

Notes: [2] lendra manna (gen. pl.) ‘among district chieftains’: Lit. ‘landed men’. In Skm (SnE 1998, I, 80), the term lendir menn is equated with hersar and explained as men appointed by the king to serve as judicial administrators over one or more districts; see also Note to Þham Magndr 1/6-7II.  — [4] þorrinn stoð ‘deprived of support’: Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B) prefers the reading fjǫlkostigr ‘with many virtues’ which suits the context of general praise in the preceding prose. However, the best mss, and the majority, have the lectio difficilior of stoð þorrinn. Jón Skaptason (1983) takes this to refer to Erlingr’s reduced circumstances after the death of his patron Óláfr Tryggvason, as related in the preceding prose. However, coupled with the reference in l. 8 to Erlingr being the last to leave battles, the image of his being deprived of the support of his king may rather conjure up Erlingr’s final battle and his betrayal by Óláfr Haraldsson, which are the subject of most of the other surviving stanzas of this poem (cf. ÍF 27, 29 n., and see Introduction above). — [5-6] bar ... þrek sinn við sóknir ‘deployed his stamina ... in onslaughts’: Við sóknir ‘in onslaughts’ is preferred here, as the reading of the overwhelming majority of mss; the verb bar is here understood in the sense of ‘possess a quality’ (LP: bera 9; Fritzner: bera 10), hence ‘deploy’. The reading of the main ms., til sóknar ‘into the onslaught’, makes sense if we understand bera to mean ‘carry’, so that Erlingr ‘carried his stamina to battle’ (similarly Hkr 1991). — [8] ór á lesti ‘out as the last’: Several mss read ǫrr at flestu ‘valiant in most situations’ which, assuming litotes, delivers general praise, but loses the contrast between Erlingr’s zeal to enter battles and reluctance to leave them.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  6. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  7. ÓH 1941 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert and Jón Helgason, eds. 1941. Saga Óláfs konungs hins helga: Den store saga om Olav den hellige efter pergamenthåndskrift i Kungliga biblioteket i Stockholm nr. 2 4to med varianter fra andre håndskrifter. 2 vols. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 53. Oslo: Dybwad.
  8. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  9. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  11. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  12. Jón Skaptason. 1983. ‘Material for an Edition and Translation of the Poems of Sigvat Þórðarson, skáld’. Ph.D. thesis. State University of New York at Stony Brook. DAI 44: 3681A.
  13. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  14. Internal references
  15. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
  16. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Biography of) Óláfr Tryggvason’ 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. 383.
  17. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)
  18. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Þorkell hamarskáld, Magnússdrápa 1’ 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. 410-11.
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