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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 61VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 61’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 57.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli

Leyfðrs, sás lét of stýfðrar
lamins fótar, gramr, njóta
ítran þegn sem augna
út stunginna ok tungu.
Hǫnd Óláfs vann heilan
hreins gǫrvallra meina
(gǫr munu gjǫld, þeims byrja)
guðs þræl (ǫfugmæli).

Leyfðrs gramr, sás lét ítran þegn njóta lamins fótar sem út stunginna augna ok of stýfðrar tungu. Hǫnd hreins Óláfs vann {guðs þræl} heilan gǫrvallra meina; gǫr munu gjǫld, þeims byrja ǫfugmæli.

Praised is the king who let the excellent man enjoy his lame leg, as well as his stabbed-out eyes and cut-off tongue. The hand of pure Óláfr healed {God’s servant} [PRIEST] of all his injuries; ample will be the payments for those who spread slander.

Mss: Flat(2rb), Bb(118rb)

Readings: [1] of: ok Bb;    stýfðrar: ‘styfdar’ Flat, Bb    [2] lamins: lamiðs Bb;    gramr: so Bb, gram Flat    [3] ítran: ungan Bb;    sem: so Bb, til Flat    [4] ok: om. Bb    [6] gǫrvallra: grimligra Bb    [7] byrja: so Flat, byrjar Flat

Editions: Skj AI, 470-1, Skj BI, 442-3, Skald I, 218; Flat 1860-8, I, 6, Cederschiöld 1873, 9, Chase 2005, 111, 162-3.

Notes: [1-4]: The language parallels the Norw. homily on S. Óláfr’s miracles: ſtyfðu af tungunni. ok ſtungu bæði ꜵugun or hꜵfði honum ‘they cut off the tongue and stabbed both eyes out of his head’ (HómNo, 117). — [1] stýfðrar (p.p.) ‘cut’: Although both mss read ‘styfdar’, the grammar of the cl. demands the p.p. be f. gen. sg. to agree with tungu (l. 4). — [3] sem ‘as well as’: Bb’s reading must be preferred over Flat’s til ‘to’ here, as the syntax of the cl. (with njóta ‘to enjoy, make use of’ + gen. object) is otherwise impossible. — [7-8]: Einarr expresses similar admonitory sentiments in sts 17 and 37, but his tone here is uncharacteristically sharp. The comment may have been ad hominem: Einarr does not use names, but his audience must have known that the assault on the priest Ríkarðr was linked to Sigurðr munnr’s family, and the two brothers Einarr and Andréas may themselves have been present.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Cederschiöld, Gustaf J. Chr., ed. 1873b. ‘Bandamanna saga’. Acta Universitatis Lundensis 10.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Cederschiöld, Gustaf J. Chr., ed. 1873a. Geisli eða Óláfs Drápa ens Helga er Einarr orti Skúlason: efter ‘Bergsboken’ utgifven. Acta Universitatis Lundensis 10. Lund: Berling.
  5. Chase, Martin, ed. 2005. Einarr Skúlason’s Geisli. A Critical Edition. Toronto Old Norse and Icelandic Studies 1. Toronto, Buffalo and London: Toronto University Press.
  6. 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.
  7. HómNo = Indrebø, Gustav. 1931. Gamal norsk homiliebok, Cod. AM 619, 4°. Det norske historiske Kjeldeskrift Fond, Skrifter 54. Oslo: Dybwad. Rpt. 1966. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.

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