Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.



Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Eyv Hál 1I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 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. 197.

Eyvindr skáldaspillir FinnssonHáleygjatal

Viljak hljóð
at Hôars líði,
meðan Gillings
gjǫldum yppik,
meðan hans ætt
í hverlegi
galga farms
til goða teljum,
hinn es Surts
ór søkkdǫlum
fljúgandi bar.

Viljak hljóð at {líði Hôars}, meðan yppik {gjǫldum Gillings}, meðan teljum ætt hans til goða í {{hverlegi} {farms galga}}, hinn es {farmǫgnuðr} bar fljúgandi ór søkkdǫlum Surts.

I would wish for a hearing for {the drink of Hôarr <= Óðinn>} [POETRY], while I lift up {the payment for Gillingr <giant>} [POETRY], while we [I] reckon his lineage back to the gods in {{the cauldron-liquid} [DRINK] {of the burden of the gallows}} [= Óðinn > POETRY], that which {the travel-furtherer} [= Óðinn] carried flying from the treasure-valleys of Surtr [giant].

Mss: R(21v/8) (ll. 1-8), R(21v/21) (ll. 5-8), R(21r) (ll. 9-12), Tˣ(22r) (ll. 1-8), Tˣ(21v) (ll. 9-12), W(46) (ll. 1-8), W(46) (ll. 9-12), U(27r/11) (ll. 1-8), U(27r/24) (ll. 5-8), B(4r) (ll. 1-8), B(4v) (ll. 5-8), B(4r) (ll. 9-12) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Viljak (‘vilia ec’): vildak Tˣ(22r), vilka ek W, vilna ek U(27r/11);    hljóð: so W, U(27r/11), B(4r), hlið R(21v/8), hljóðs Tˣ(22r)    [3] Gillings: gillingr U(27r/11)    [4] yppik: yppir U(27r/11)    [5] meðan: þvíat W    [6] í: ór B(4r), B(4v)    [7] farms: grams U(27r/11), U(27r/24), fars B(4r), B(4v)    [10] søkk‑: ‘sau(g)’ corrected from ‘sau(k) (?)’ Tˣ(22r)

Editions: Skj AI, 68, Skj BI, 60, Skald I, 37, NN §1783B; SnE 1848-87, I, 242-3, 248-9, 252-3, II, 306-7, 520, 522-3, SnE 1931, 91, 93, 94, SnE 1998, I, 11, 13, 14; Krause 1990, 138-45.


Lines 1-8 (with ll. 5-8 repeated in R, U and B) are cited to illustrate kennings for ‘poetry’. The final four lines are cited separately and somewhat earlier, to illustrate a kenning for Óðinn.

Notes: [All]: SnE gives no indication that these excerpts come from Hál, but there is scholarly consensus that they belong there (SnE 1998, I, 160). Earlier eds took ll. 1-8 of the present stanza as st. 1 and ll. 9-12 as st. 2 (see Note to l. 9 for discussion). — [All]: The poetry-kennings in the stanza allude programmatically to different phases in the story of Óðinn’s appropriation of the poetic mead (see Skm, SnE 1998, I, 3-5). — [3-4] gjǫldum Gillings ‘the payment for Gillingr <giant> [POETRY]’: The gen. in this phrase is objective. In the myth of the poetic mead as told in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 3), Gillingr is left to drown by the dwarfs Fjalarr and Galarr; when his son Suttungr insists upon reparation they give him the poetic mead. — [5, 8] meðan teljum ætt hans til goða ‘while we [I] reckon his lineage back to the gods’: The referent of hans ‘his’ is not clarified in the stanza, but the name of Eyvindr’s patron, Hákon jarl Sigurðarson, was probably specified in a (lost) introductory stanza. — [6] hverlegi ‘the cauldron-liquid [DRINK]’: The kenning, unusually, functions as the base-word of a further kenning, for ‘poetry’. The reference to a cauldron is particularly apt since according to Skm (SnE 1998, I, 4-5) Óðinn steals the mead of poetry from Suttungr by drinking it from three great vats. He then escapes by flying off in the shape of an eagle, spitting out the mead on arrival in Ásgarðr, the home of the gods; ll. 9-12 allude to this. — [7] farms galga ‘of the burden of the gallows [= Óðinn]’: The god was ‘a burden of the gallows’ on the occasions when he hanged himself and communed with the dead in order to gather wisdom (Turville-Petre 1964, 42-50). — [9-12]: On Óðinn’s flight, see Note to l. 6 above. — [9] hinn es ‘that which’: Lines 9-12 appear to follow ll. 1-8, although they are separately transmitted (see Context and Note to [All] above). The demonstrative pron. hinn (which is followed by the rel. particle es) appears to refer back to m. dat. sg. -legi (from nom. lǫgr ‘liquid’), and hence to the kenning for ‘poetry’. It is in the acc. case since it is object to bar ‘carried’ in the rel. clause; for further (rare) examples of pronouns taking the case appropriate to the following rel. clause, see NS §260. Hinn cannot be nom., since the subject of the clause is farmǫgnuðr ‘travel-furtherer [= Óðinn]’. — [9] Surts ‘of Surtr [giant]’: It has been suggested that Surtr is used here as a common noun (‘giant’), referring to Suttungr (LP (1860), LP: Surtr 2; Faulkes 1987, 254; SnE 1998, I, 160); see Note to ll. 3-4 above on Suttungr. However, the name Surtr may refer, as normally, to the notorious fire-giant (see Phillpotts 1905). Since he was famed for his single combat with Freyr at Ragnarǫk (Vsp 53/5-6, Fáfn 14/5-6; SnE 2005, 50; Simek 1993, 303-4), mention of him here fits with the general interest in Freyr in Hál (see Introduction and Note to st. 3/3). It is also possible that Surtr figured in early versions of the story of the poetic mead, perhaps playing the role ascribed to Suttungr in SnE (cf. Krause 1990, 142-3). The evidence of Hfr ErfÓl 15/7-8 sylg ættar Surts ‘drink of the family of Surtr [GIANTS > POETRY]’ is equivocal, since Surtr could either refer to a figure in the myth or (more likely) could function as a representative giant. — [10] søkk- ‘treasure-’: The rare word ‘precious stone, treasure’, cognate with OE sinc, seems also to be used in Eyv Lv 4/5 (see Note, and cf. Ótt Knútdr 11/1, Anon Pl 20/6VII, Falk 1923, 70-1 and NN §1783). Compounded here with dǫlum (dat. pl.) ‘valleys’, it may alternatively mean ‘sunken’. It appears that the cpd is qualified by Surts, but it is difficult to make a definitive choice between the two meanings in the absence of fuller information about Surtr. Faulkes (SnE 1998, I, 160) notes that if ll. 9-12 belonged with now lost lines rather than with ll. 1-8, Surts could have formed part of a kenning rather than qualifying søkkdǫlum. — [11] farmǫgnuðr ‘the travel-furtherer [= Óðinn]’: In context, this hap. leg. alludes to the feat of flying by which Óðinn appropriated the mead of poetry (Meissner 322; LP: farmǫgnuðr), but it may also refer to Óðinn’s broad capacity as a god of voyages, migrations, territorial expansions and possibly trade (Haugen 1983, 8-9; cf. LP (1860): farmǫgnaðr), a set of aspects highly relevant to the expansionist jarls.


  1. Bibliography
  2. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  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. LP (1860) = Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1860. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis. Copenhagen: Societas Regia antiquariorum septentrionalium.
  8. Turville-Petre, Gabriel. 1964. Myth and Religion of the North. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
  9. Faulkes, Anthony, trans. 1987. Snorri Sturluson. Edda. Everyman’s Library. London and Rutland, Vermont: J. M. Dent & Sons and Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc. Rpt. with new chronology and synopsis 2005.
  10. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.
  11. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  12. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  13. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  14. Krause, Arnulf, ed. 1990. Die Dichtung des Eyvindr skáldaspillir: Edition-Kommentar-Untersuchungen. Altnordische Bibliothek 10. Leverkusen: Literaturverlag Norden Mark Reinhardt.
  15. Haugen, Einar. 1983. ‘The Edda as Ritual: Odin and his Masks’. In Glendinning et al. 1983, 3-24.
  16. Phillpotts, Bertha. 1905. ‘Surt’. ANF 21, 14-30.
  17. Simek, Rudolf. 1993. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Trans. Angela Hall. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.
  18. Falk, Hjalmar. 1923. Review of Rudolf Meissner. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. ANF 41, 59-89.
  19. Internal references
  20. Edith Marold 2017, ‘Snorra Edda (Prologue, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál)’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  21. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
  22. Jonna Louis-Jensen and Tarrin Wills (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Plácitusdrápa 20’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 194.
  23. Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal’ 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. 195.
  24. Not published: do not cite ()
  25. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur 4’ 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. 219.
  26. Not published: do not cite ()
  27. Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 15’ 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. 421.
  28. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 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. 781.

Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.


Stanza/chapter/text segment

Use the buttons at the top of the page to navigate between stanzas in a poem.

Information tab

Interactive tab

The text and translation are given here, with buttons to toggle whether the text is shown in the verse order or prose word order. Clicking on indiviudal words gives dictionary links, variant readings, kennings and notes, where relevant.

Full text tab

This is the text of the edition in a similar format to how the edition appears in the printed volumes.

Chapter/text segment

This view is also used for chapters and other text segments. Not all the headings shown are relevant to such sections.