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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞKolb Eirdr 13I

Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa 13’ 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. 507.

Þórðr KolbeinssonEiríksdrápa

Enn at eyrar grunni
endr Skjǫldungr of renndi,
sás kjǫlslóðir kníði,
Knútr langskipum útan.
Varð, þars vildu fyrðar
varrláð koma báðir,
hjalmaðs jarls ok hilmis
hœgr fundr á því dœgri.

Enn Skjǫldungr, Knútr, sás kníði {kjǫlslóðir}, of renndi endr langskipum útan at grunni eyrar. Fundr hjalmaðs jarls ok hilmis varð hœgr á því dœgri, þars báðir fyrðar vildu koma {varrláð}.

And the Skjǫldungr, Knútr, who pounded {the keel-paths} [SEA], again ran his longships ashore onto the shallows of the land-spit. The meeting of the helmeted jarl and the prince proved propitious on that day, when both men wished to cross {the oarstroke-land} [SEA].

Mss: (22), 20dˣ(9r), 873ˣ(10v-11r), 41ˣ(8v) (Knýtl)

Readings: [2] endr: end 20dˣ;    Skjǫldungr of: skjǫldungum all    [7] hjalmaðs: hjalmað 20dˣ;    hilmis: so with ‘hilmir in membrin footnote JÓ, hilmir 20dˣ, 873ˣ, 41ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 216, Skj BI, 205, Skald I, 107, NN §§583, 584, 774, 1853A; 1741, 22-3, Knýtl 1919-25, 44-5, ÍF 35, 114-5 (ch. 13).

Context: See Context to st. 12.

Notes: [2] Skjǫldungr of renndi ‘Skjǫldungr ... ran’: Line 2 is problematic, and no ideal solution presents itself. (a) Skjǫldungr of is emended from ms. skjǫldungum (as also in Skj B; Skald; ÍF 35) in order to provide the antecedant that rel. sás ‘who’ requires. It is likely that in the process of transmission, an expletive particle um (earlier of) has been reanalysed as the dat. pl. ending of the preceding word, and final -r has been lost, giving Skjǫldungum. Skjǫldungr is a general ruler-heiti, but here and in Ótt Knútdr 10/1 may allude to Knútr’s royal Danish ancestry, and to a tradition of Danish rule in England (Frank 1994b, 110-13). Skjǫldungr is taken in apposition to Knútr (l. 4). As well as being an emendation, skjǫldungr has the drawback that it produces a metrically irregular line, whereas skjǫldungum produces a standard Type D2-line with a single word (simplex or cpd) occupying positions 1-4 (cf. Gade 1995a, 113-14). (b) To retain ms. skjǫldungum would therefore be preferable, yet it has no clear function in the helmingr. Renndi skjǫldungum ‘made princes flee’ would be possible in itself (cf. a similar statement in HSt Rst 20/5-6), but it would conflict with the stanza’s focus on a meeting of two allies; the identity of the skjǫldungar would be unclear; and renndi ‘ran, impelled’ already has a dat. object in langskipum ‘longships’. (c) Skj B’s sá skjǫldungr, es kníði ... ‘that prince who pounded ...’ entails syntactic problems (on which see NN §583; cf. §1853A) as well as the problems noted for interpretation (a). — [5-6] fyrðar … varrláð ‘men … oarstroke-land [SEA]’: (a) The ms. readings are retained here, as in ÍF 35. Fyrðar is taken with báðir, hence ‘both men’, referring to Eiríkr (the jarl) and Knútr (the hilmir ‘prince’), although fyrðar is normally used of a larger, unspecified group. Koma varrláð ‘come [across] the oarstroke-land [SEA]’ is also acceptable since the acc. object of a verb of motion may be the site of that motion (NN §584; ÍF 35, and cf. NS §96b). (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B; LP: varrláð; see also Meissner 218) emends to dýrum varrláðs ‘animals of the oarstroke-land [SEA > SHIPS]’ and translates the resulting sentence, hvor det var bægges hensigt at lande med deres skibe ‘where it was the intention of both to land with their ships’. — [7] hilmis ‘the prince’: The nom. sg. reading hilmir does not make sense as subject here, and a further gen. is clearly required by fundr hjalmaðs jarls ok ‘the meeting of the helmeted jarl and’. Hilmir is therefore emended in JÓ and all subsequent eds.


  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. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  6. 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.
  7. Gade, Kari Ellen. 1995a. The Structure of Old Norse dróttkvætt Poetry. Islandica 49. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
  8. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.
  9. ÍF 35 = Danakonunga sǫgur. Ed. Bjarni Guðnason. 1982.
  10. 1741 = Jón Ólafsson, ed. 1741. Æfi dana-konunga eda Knytlinga saga: Historia Cnutidarum regum Daniæ. Copenhagen: [n. p.].
  11. Knýtl 1919-25 = Petersens, Carl af and Emil Olsen, eds. 1919-25. Sǫgur danakonunga. 1: Sǫgubrot af fornkonungum. 2: Knýtlinga saga. SUGNL 66. Copenhagen: SUGNL.
  12. Frank, Roberta. 1994b. ‘King Cnut in the Verse of his Skalds’. In Rumble 1994, 106-24.
  13. Internal references
  14. Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 20’ 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. 920.
  15. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 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. 779.

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