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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorbjǫrn hornklofi (Þhorn)

9th century; volume 1; ed. R. D. Fulk;

1. Glymdrápa (Gldr) - 10

Skj info: Þórbjǫrn hornklofi, Norsk skjald; omkr. 900. (AI, 22-29, BI, 20-26).

Skj poems:
1. Glymdrápa
2. Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál)
3. Lausavísa

Little is known about the Norwegian Þorbjǫrn hornklofi ‘Horn-cleaver (?)’. Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 273) names him as a poet of Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ (r. c. 860-c. 932). Judging from Fsk (ÍF 29, 59), he seems to have spent his whole life at the court of this king. Þorbjǫrn is the composer of two poems about Haraldr, Glymdrápa (Þhorn Gldr) and Haraldskvæði (Þhorn Harkv). Skálda saga, an anecdote about skalds preserved in Hb, and hardly likely to be historical, depicts him as one of three skalds, the other two being Auðunn illskælda ‘Bad-poet’ and Ǫlvir hnúfa ‘Snub-nose (?)’, each of whom attempts a romantic encounter with the same rich widow and then bemoans his failure in a lausavísa (see Auðunn Lv 2, Þhorn Lv, Ǫlv Lv 2). The three skalds are also named in Egils saga (ÍF 2, 19) as Haraldr’s favourites. They occupy places of honour in his hall, with Þorbjǫrn between the other two.

In the prose sources Þorbjǫrn is predominantly referred to only by his nickname Hornklofi. To date there is no satisfying explanation of this word. It is attested in the Þulur as a raven-heiti (see Þul Hrafns 1/5III and Note), but it does not occur in that sense in the surviving body of skaldic poetry. Scholars have claimed that the nickname refers to Þorbjǫrn’s device, in Þhorn Harkv, of having a raven speak in his stead (SnE 1848-87, III, 408; ÍF 26, 101 n. 1). Fidjestøl (1991, 126) is, however, justified in doubting this interpretation. An alternative possibility would be to link the nickname to Egill Hfl 16/6-7V (Eg 49): en jǫfurr heldr lǫndum hornklofi ‘and the ruler holds his lands by a hornklof’. But hornklofi here must be the dative of neuter hornklof, whereas Þorbjǫrn’s nickname is a masculine n-stem, and unfortunately the meaning of this passage is obscure, though hornklof seems to be some kind of tool.

notes
my abbr.

Glymdrápa — Þhorn GldrI

Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Glymdrápa’ 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. 73.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9 

for reference only:  4x 

Skj: Þórbjǫrn hornklofi: 1. Glymdrápa (AI, 22-4, BI, 20-1); stanzas (if different): 3, 4/1-4 | 4/5-8

in texts: Flat, Fsk, HarHárf, HHárf, Hkr, LaufE, ÓT, Skm, SnE

SkP info: I, 73

notes: was group B, but don't know why.

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Hilmir réð á heiði
hjaldrskíðs þrimu galdra
óðr við œskimeiða
ey vébrautar heyja,
áðr gnapsólar Gripnis
gnýstœrandi fœri
rausnarsamr til rimmu
ríðviggs lagar skíðum.
The ruler commanded that the noise of the battle-plank [SWORD > BATTLE] be launched on the heath, ever furious at the wishing trees of the incantations of the standard-road [BATTLEFIELD > BATTLE > WARRIORS], before the magnificent increaser of the noise of the jutting sun of the riding horse of Gripnir <sea-king> [(lit. ‘noise-increaser of the jutting sun of the riding horse of Gripnir’) SHIP > SHIELD > BATTLE > WARRIOR] sailed into battle with the skis of the sea [SHIPS].
2 Gerðisk glamma ferðar
gný-Þróttr jǫru dróttar
helkannandi hlenna
hlymrœks of trǫð glymja,
áðr út á mar mœtir
mannskœðr lagar tanna
ræsinaðr ok rausnar
rak vébrautar nǫkkva.
The din-Þróttr <= Óðinn> of battle [WARRIOR = Haraldr], condemning the band of thieves of the battle-cultivator to death, made clangour on the path of the pack of wolves [HEATH], before the man-harming attender of the standard-road [BATTLEFIELD > WARRIOR] drove [his] ships of the teeth of the sea [STONES (steinar ‘colours’)] and the excellent adder of the forecastle [SHIP] out to sea.
3 Hrjóðr lét hæstrar tíðar
harðráðr skipa bǫrðum
bôru fáks ins bleika
barnungr á lǫg þrungit,
þar svát barsk at borði
(borðhǫlkvi rak norðan)
hlífar valdr til hildar
(hregg) dǫglinga tveggja.
The hard-ruling clearer of the pale horse of the wave [SHIP > SEA-WARRIOR = Haraldr], [when] child-young, had ships’ prows put out to sea at the best time, so that the owner of the shield [WARRIOR = Haraldr] travelled on board there into battle against two rulers; the storm drove the plank-horse [SHIP] from the north.
4 Ok allsnœfrir jǫfrar
orðalaust at morði
— endisk rauðra randa
rǫdd — dynskotum kvǫddusk.
And the very vigorous rulers greeted each other wordlessly with din-shots at the battle; the voice of the red shields [BATTLE] sufficed.
5 Háði gramr, þars gnúðu,
geira hregg við seggi,
— rauð fnýsti ben blóði —
bryngǫgl í dyn Skǫglar,
þás á rausn fyr ræsi
(réð egglituðr) seggir
— æfr gall hjǫrr við hlífar —
hnigu fjǫrvanir (sigri).
The king fought a storm of spears [BATTLE] against men where mail-shirt-goslings [ARROWS] roared in the din of Skǫgul <valkyrie> [BATTLE]; the red wound spurted blood as men sank down lifeless before the ruler on the forecastle; the furious sword resounded against shields; the blade-stainer [WARRIOR = Haraldr] gained victory.
6 Grennir þrǫng at gunni
gunnmôs fyr haf sunnan
(sá vas gramr) ok gumnum
(goðvarðr) und sik jǫrðu.
Ok hjalmtamiðr hilmir
holmreyðar lét olman
lindihjǫrt fyr landi
lundprúðr við stik bundinn.
The feeder of the battle-gull [RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR] forced the land and people under himself in battle south across the sea; that ruler was god-protected. And the splendid-minded ruler, used to the helmet of the island-salmon [SNAKE], had the fierce mast-hart [SHIP] moored to a stake before the shore.
7 Ríks þreifsk reiddra øxa
rymr — knôttu spjǫr glymja —
— svartskyggð bitu seggi
sverð — þjóðkonungs ferðar,
þás hugfyldra hǫlða
(hlaut andskoti Gauta)
hôr vas sǫngr of svírum
(sigr) flugbeiddra vigra.
The roar of the swung axes of the mighty king’s army swelled; black-polished swords bit men; spears resounded when the song of flight-driven spears was loud over the necks of courageous men; the adversary of the Gautar [= Haraldr] gained victory.
8 Menfergir bar margar
margspakr — Niðar varga
lundr vann sókn á sandi —
sandmens í bý randir,
áðr fyr eljunfróðum
allr herr Skota þverri
lǫgðis seið af láði
lœbrautar varð flœja.
The very wise ring-destroyer [GENEROUS MAN = Haraldr] bore many shields into the settlement by the shore-ring [SEA]; the tree of the wolves of Nidelven <river> [SHIPS > SEAFARER = Haraldr] made an attack upon the shore, before all the host had to flee from the incantation of the sword [BATTLE] out of the land of the pollack-path [SEA > ISLAND] before the mettle-wise destroyer of Scots [= Haraldr].
9 Kømrat yðr né œðri
annarr konungmanna
gjǫfli rœmðr und gamlan
gnapstól, Haraldr, sólar.
No other man of royal descent will come, renowned for generosity, nor more excellent than you, Haraldr, under the old jutting seat of the sun [SKY/HEAVEN].
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