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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞKolb Eirdr 11I

Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa 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. 504.

Þórðr KolbeinssonEiríksdrápa

text and translation

Enn hefsk leyfð, þars lofða
lofkennda frák sendu
at hjalmsǫmum hilmi
hjarls dróttna boð jarli,
at skyldligast skyldi
— skilk, hvat gramr lézk vilja —
endr at ástafundi
Eirekr koma þeira.

Enn hefsk leyfð, þars frák lofkennda lofða sendu boð at hjalmsǫmum hilmi hjarls dróttna, jarli, at Eirekr skyldi skyldligast koma endr at ástafundi þeira; skilk, hvat gramr lézk vilja.
‘Again praise is beginning, where I have heard that praise-renowned men sent an invitation to the helmet-adorned ruler of the land of lords, to the jarl [Eiríkr], that Eiríkr should most dutifully come again to a friendly meeting with them; I understand what the king [Knútr] declared he wanted.

notes and context

Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great), having heard of his brother-in-law Eiríkr’s successes in battle, asks him to accompany him on a campaign in England.

[1-4]: All interpretations share the acc. with inf. construction (frák) lofkennda lofða sendu ... ‘(I have heard) that praise-renowned men sent ...’, where sendu is a past inf., lit. ‘to have sent’ (cf. Note to st. 6/8). However, they vary as to the allocation and construal of the objects and adjunct phrases. (a) The interpretation followed here, which is similar to that of Kock in NN §2922, is syntactically the simplest. Lofkennda lofða (m. acc. pl.) ‘glorious men’ functions as the object of frák ‘I have heard’, and hjarls dróttna ‘of the land of lords’ qualifies hjalmsǫmum hilmi ‘helmet-adorned ruler’, which stands in apposition with jarli ‘jarl’ (cf. NN §§581, 1853C). Possible instances of apposition are rare but not unknown in early skaldic poetry (see, e.g., st. 13/2 below, Eyv Hál 7/1-4 and Notes to these). It could be avoided by taking leyfð jarli together as ‘praise(-poem) for the jarl’. (b) Kock, in NN §581, proposed lofða lofken(n)da hjarls dróttna, translated männens prisade landsherre ‘men’s praised lords of the land’ (with sg. referent, Knútr) as the object of frák ‘I have heard’, but he retracted this in NN §2922. (c) ÍF 27 takes dróttna hjarls ‘lords of the land’ in apposition with lofða lofkennda ‘glorious men’ as the object of frák, in addition to the apposition of hilmi and jarli. (d) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) offers a syntactically counter-intuitive solution with hilmi ‘ruler’ (l. 3) qualified by lofða (m. gen. pl.) ‘of men’ (l. 1), as an adjunct of leyfð ‘praise(-poem)’, hence ‘praise-poem for the ruler of men’. Lofken(n)da ‘praise-renowned’ (l. 2) qualifies dróttna hjarls ‘lords of the land’ (l. 4) as the object of frák ‘I have heard’ and subject of sendu ‘sent’. This is rejected in NN §581 .



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: Þórðr Kolbeinsson, 3. Eiríksdrápa 8: AI, 215-16, BI, 205, Skald I, 107, NN §§581, 1853C, 2922; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 32, IV, 115, ÍF 27, 31, Hkr 1991, I, 270-1 (ÓHHkr ch. 24); ÓH 1941, I, 54 (ch. 28); ÓT 1958-2000, II, 316 (ch. 266), Flat 1860-8, I, 560.


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