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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

12th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

7. Runhenda (Run) - 10

Skj info: Einarr Skúlason, Islandsk skjald, 12. årh. (AI, 455-85, BI, 423-57).

Skj poems:
1. Sigurðardrápa
2. Haraldsdrápa I
3. Haraldsdrápa II
4. Haraldssonakvæði(?)
5. Sigurðardrápa
6. Geisli
7. Runhenda
8. Eysteinsdrápa
9. Ingadrápa
10. Elfarvísur
11. Lausavísur
11. Lausavísur
11. Øxarflokkr(?)
12. Ubestemmelige vers, tilhørende forskellige fyrstedigte eller lausavísur

We know very little about the life of Einarr Skúlason (ESk). He is called prestr ‘priest’ and is mentioned in a catalogue (c. 1220) of priests of noble birth who were alive in western Iceland in 1143 (Stu 1878, II, 502). It is likely that he came from Borg, belonged to the Mýrar family and was a direct descendant of Þorsteinn Egilsson and a brother of Snorri Sturluson’s maternal grandfather (LH 1894-1901, II, 62-3; ÍF 3, 51 n. 3). He was probably born c. 1090. In 1153, he recited the poem Geisli ‘Light-beam’ (ESk GeislVII) in Kristkirken in Trondheim. He was marshal (stallari) at King Eysteinn Magnússon’s court, and he composed poetry in praise of the Norw. kings Sigurðr jórsalafari ‘Jerusalem-farer’ and Eysteinn Magnússon, Haraldr gilli(-kristr) ‘Servant (of Christ)’, Magnús inn blindi ‘the Blind’ Sigurðarson, Haraldr gilli’s sons, Ingi, Sigurðr munnr ‘Mouth’, and Eysteinn, and about the Norw. chieftain Grégóríus Dagsson (see SnE 1848-87, III, 254-5, 263-4, 269, 276-7, 286). According to Skáldatal, he also honoured the Norw. magnate Eindriði ungi ‘the Young’ Jónsson as well as Sørkvir Kolsson and Jón jarl Sørkvisson of Sweden and King Sveinn Eiríksson of Denmark (SnE 1848-87, III, 252, 258, 260, 268-9, 272, 283, 286). About the latter he recited a poem for which he received no reward (see ESk Lv 3; ÍF 35, 275). The extant portion of his poetic oeuvre consists of the following poems (excluding lvv.): Sigurðardrápa I (Sigdr I, five extant sts about Sigurðr jórsalafari); Haraldsdrápa I (Hardr I, two extant sts about Haraldr gilli); Haraldsdrápa II (Hardr II, five extant sts about Haraldr gilli); Haraldssonakvæði (Harsonkv, two extant sts about the sons of Haraldr gilli); Sigurðardrápa II (Sigdr II, one extant st. about Sigurðr munnr Haraldsson); Runhenda (Run, ten extant sts about Eysteinn Haraldsson); Eysteinsdrápa (Eystdr, two extant sts about Eysteinn Haraldsson); Ingadrápa (Ingdr, four extant sts about Ingi Haraldsson); Elfarvísur (Elfv, two extant sts about Grégóríus Dagsson); Geisli (GeislVII, seventy-one sts about S. Óláfr); Øxarflokkr (ØxflIII, ten extant sts about the gift of an axe).

It must be emphasised that, although the poetry included in the royal panegyrics below clearly belongs to poems of that genre, with two exceptions (Hardr II and Elfv), all the names of the poems are modern constructs (notably by Jón Sigurðsson and Finnur Jónsson). That also holds true for the assignment of sts to the individual poems. In some cases, sts were assigned to a particular poem for metrical reasons (so Run), in other cases because of the content or the named recipients of the praise. For the sake of convenience, the names of the poems and the sts assigned to them as found in Skj have been retained in the present edn. In addition to the royal encomia, a number of fragments and lvv. attributed to Einarr are preserved in SnE, TGT and LaufE (see ESk Frag 1-18III; ESk Lv 7-15III). These have been edited separately in SkP III. Six lvv. are transmitted in the kings’ sagas and edited below.

Runhenda (‘’) — ESk RunII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr Skúlason, Runhenda’ 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. 551-9.

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Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 7. Runhenda, o. 1155 (AI, 473-5, BI, 445-7)

in texts: H-Hr, Hkr, HSona, Mork, Skm, SnE

SkP info: II, 551-9

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Jǫfurr fýstisk austr
ǫrlyndr ok hraustr.
The lord, liberal-minded and bold, was eager [to journey] east.
2 Víkverjum galt
— varð þannig hallt —
gǫrræði gramr
gjafmildr ok framr.
Flest folk varð hrætt,
áðr fengi sætt,
en gjǫldin jók,
sás gísla tók.
The ruler, generous and outstanding, repaid the Víkverjar for their unlawful ways; things accordingly went awry. Most people were afraid before they reached a settlement, but he who took hostages increased the payments.
3 Vann siklingr sótt
við snarpa drótt
— leyfðs lýðum bær —
Leikbergi nær.
Renir flýðu ríkt
ok reiddu slíkt,
— ǫld festi auð —
sem ǫðlingr bauð.
The ruler fought close to Leikbjǫrg with his brave retinue; praise must be spread among men. The Renir fled in force and paid out what the prince exacted; people promised riches.
4 Funi kyndisk fljótt,
en flýði skjótt
Hísingar herr,
sás hafði verr.
Fire was kindled quickly, and the people of Hisingen, who had the worst of it, fled fast.
5 Frétt hefk, at fell
— folks brustu svell —
— jǫfurr eyddi frið —
Apardjónar lið.
I have heard that the troop of Aberdeen fell; ice-sheets of battle [SWORDS] shattered; the prince destroyed the peace.
6 Beit buðlungs hjǫrr
— blóð fell á dǫrr —
— hirð fylgðisk holl —
við Hjartarpoll.
Hugin gladdi heit
— hruðusk Engla beit —
— óx vitnis vín —
valbasta Rín.
The lord’s sword bit at Hartlepool; blood fell on spears; the faithful retinue persevered. The hot Rhine <river> of sword-hilts [BLOOD] gladdened Huginn <raven>; the ships of the English were cleared; the wolf’s wine [BLOOD] increased.
7 Jók hilmir hjaldr
— þar vas hjǫrva galdr —
— hjósk hildar ský —
við Hvítabý.
Ríkt lék við rǫnn
— rauzk ylgjar tǫnn —
— fekksk fyrðum harmr —
fyriskógar Garmr.
The prince intensified the fighting at Whitby; there was a chant of swords [BATTLE] there; the cloud of battle [SHIELD] was cloven. The Garmr <mythical dog> of the fir-forest [FIRE] played powerfully against houses; the tooth of the she-wolf was reddened; grief was inflicted on people.
8 Drap dǫglingr gegn
— dreif strengjar regn —
við Skǫrpusker
skjaldkœnan her.
Rauf styrjar garð,
þás støkkva varð
randǫlun sótt
reiðmanna gnótt.
The reliable ruler killed the shield-skilled company at the Farne Islands; the rain of the bow-string [ARROWS] streamed. The enclosure of strife [SHIELD] shattered when plenty of horsemen, attacked by the rim-fish [SWORD], were forced to scatter.
9 Rauð siklingr sverð
— sleit gylðis ferð
prútt Parta lík —
í Pílavík.
Vann vísi allt
fyr vestan salt
— brandr gall við brún —
brennt Langatún.
The prince reddened the sword in Pílavík; the company of the wolf [WOLVES] tore the splendid corpses of the Partar. The leader burned all Langatún west of the sea; the sword rang against the brow.
10 Skark súðum sund
fyr sunnan Hrund;
mín prýddisk mund
við mildings fund.
I cut the sea with ship-sides south of Runde; my hand was adorned at the meeting with the munificent one.
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