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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eþver Lv 1I

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Einarr þveræingr Eyjólfsson, Lausavísa 1’ 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. 804.

Einarr þveræingr EyjólfssonLausavísa1

Trautt erumk lausa at láta
— leiðs oss konungs reiði —
(gjarn es gramr at arna)
Grímsey (of trǫð fleyja).
Hǫldum vér fyr hildar
— hanns dýrr konungr — stýri
holmgjarðar — fremsk hilmir
hagli peitu — nagla.

Erumk trautt at láta Grímsey lausa; reiði konungs [e]s oss leið; gramr es gjarn at arna of {trǫð fleyja}. Hǫldum vér {nagla {holmgjarðar}} fyr {stýri hildar}; hanns dýrr konungr; hilmir fremsk {hagli peitu}.

I am reluctant to let Grímsey go; the king’s anger is hateful to us [me]; the prince is eager to travel over {the path of vessels} [SEA]. Let us hold {the stud {of the islet-belt}} [SEA > ISLAND] against {the controller of battle} [WARRIOR]; he is a splendid king; the ruler advances himself {by the hail of the spear} [BATTLE].

Mss: 61(103vb) (ÓH)

Readings: [2] konungs: konungsins 61    [4] of: und 61    [7] ‑gjarðar: ‑gerðar 61    [8] peitu: ‘peitv’ or ‘pettv’ 61

Editions: Skj AI, 307, Skj BI, 284-5, Skald I, 145; Fms 4, 282, Fms 12, 87, ÓH 1941, II, 809.

Context: In ÓH (1941, I, 326-9) and Hkr (ÍF 27, 215-7), Þórarinn Nefjólfsson at the Icelandic alþingi declaims a message from King Óláfr Haraldsson that he wishes to annex the island of Grímsey in exchange for friendship and unspecified benefits. The men of the Northern quarter are most affected and, swayed in their discussion by Guðmundr Eyjólfsson of Möðruvellir, incline to accept, but then his brother Einarr, in a now-famous speech about Iceland’s past and future freedom, swings opinion against the bid. Only in 61 does he also recite the stanza.

Notes: [1] erumk trautt ‘I am reluctant’: Lit. ‘it is unwelcome to us’.  — [2]: An aðalhending involving leið ‘hateful’ and reiði ‘anger’ is also the basis for Hfr Lv 9/6V (Hallfr 12) and Stefnir Lv 2/2. — [3] arna ‘to travel’: The verb occurs with both long and short vowel (ANG §127.1), but the aðalhending on gjarn ‘eager’ in Anon Liðs 3/2 favours the short variant there, and possibly here also. This seems to be the weak verb árna/arna ‘travel (as an envoy), wander’, but the juxtaposition of árna Grímsey seems to pun on its commoner homophone, árna ‘gain, achieve’, referring to Óláfr Haraldsson’s territorial ambitions.  — [4] Grímsey: Island in the extreme north of Iceland, situated on the Arctic Circle. — [4] of trǫð fleyja ‘over the path of vessels [SEA]’: Ms. und would yield the sense (or rather nonsense) ‘under the sea’, and emendation to um, hence normalised of ‘over’, has been generally accepted. — [7, 8] nagla holmgjarðar ‘the stud of the islet-belt [SEA > ISLAND]’: The slight emendation, first proposed by Konráð Gíslason (1892, 94) is contextually necessary, and produces a phrasing so reminiscent of Egill Lv 43/7-8V (Eg 123) eyneglð gjǫrð jarðar ‘island-studded belt of the land [SEA]’ that direct influence seems likely. LP: eyneglðr also points out that nagli ‘nail, stud’ appears in the name of a Norwegian skerry (Rygh et al. 1897-1936, XII, 221). — [8] peitu ‘of the spear’: The kenning requires this form, although the 61 reading is slightly doubtful; Árni Magnússon in 761bˣ transcribed it as pettu. The word may originally have referred to prestige weaponry from Poitou (see Note to Arn Hryn 9/8II).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  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. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  6. 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.
  7. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  8. Konráð Gíslason, ed. 1892. Udvalg af oldnordiske skjaldekvad, med anmærkninger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  9. Internal references
  10. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  11. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Separate Saga of S. Óláfr / Óláfs saga helga in sérstaka (ÓH)’ 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, pp. clxxvi-clxxix.
  12. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda, Magnússdrápa 9’ 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. 193-4.
  13. Not published: do not cite (Egill Lv 43V (Eg 123))
  14. Not published: do not cite (Hfr Lv 9V (Hallfr 12))
  15. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Liðsmannaflokkr 3’ 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. 1019.
  16. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Stefnir Þorgilsson, Lausavísur 2’ 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. 450.
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