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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson (Arn)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Diana Whaley;

3. Magnússdrápa (Magndr) - 19

Skj info: Arnórr Þórðarson jarlaskáld, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 332-54, BI, 305-27).

Skj poems:
1. Rǫgnvaldsdrápa
2. Hrynhenda, Magnúsdrápa
3. Magnúsdrápa
4. Et digt om Hermundr Illugason
5. Þórfinnsdrápa
6. Erfidrápa om kong Harald hårdråde
7. Vers af ubestemmelige digte, samt én lausavísa

Arnórr jarlaskáld ‘Jarls’-poet’ came from Hítarnes in western Iceland, the son of the prosperous farmer and poet Þórðr Kolbeinsson (ÞKolbI, born 974) and Oddný eykyndill ‘Island-candle’ Þorkelsdóttir, who was the subject of the long-running personal and poetic rivalry between Þórðr and Bjǫrn Hítdœlakappi (BjhítV) which is commemorated in Bjarnar saga Hítdœlakappa. According to that saga chronology, Arnórr would have been born c. 1011/12, and he features as a boy in ch. 23 of the saga, and in ch. 60 of Grettis saga. He went abroad, probably in his early twenties, for he is named in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 258, 267) among the skalds of King Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great) (d. 1035). From the evidence of the memorial poems Rǫgnvaldsdrápa (Arn Rǫgndr), especially st. 2, and Þorfinnsdrápa (Arn Þorfdr), especially sts 3, 4 (cf. Lv 1), he spent several years in the Orkney Islands as poet and intimate of the jarls Rǫgnvaldr (d. c. 1045) and Þorfinnr (d. c. 1065). It is to this that his nickname refers. Arnórr was in Norway during the brief joint rule of Magnús Óláfsson and Haraldr Sigurðarson (c. 1045-6), and his performance of Hrynhenda (Arn Hryn) for Magnús and Blágagladrápa ‘The drápa of Dark Geese (= Ravens (?))’ for Haraldr is the subject of a spirited anecdote (Mork 1928-32, 116-18, Flat 1860-8, III, 321-3, Fms 6, 195-8; referred to below as ‘the Mork anecdote’). The later part of Arnórr’s career is obscure, but there is a second, memorial poem for Magnús, Magnússdrápa (Arn Magndr), and his composition of a Haraldsdrápa (Arn Hardr) in memory of Haraldr (d. 1066) suggests continuing links of some kind with Norway, though he also composed about Icelanders: a fragmentarily preserved poem for Hermundr Illugason (d. c. 1055; Arn HermIII) and a poem for Gellir Þorkelsson (d. 1073) of which Arn Frag 1III might be a remnant. For further outlines of Arnórr’s life and works, see Hollander 1945, 177-83; Turville-Petre 1968, 5-10, 1976, 93-4; Whaley 1998, 41-7.

The majority of Arnórr’s surviving oeuvre takes the form of memorial encomia (erfidrápur) for rulers of Norway or Orkney in the dróttkvætt metre: ten ll. only of Rǫgndr and longer fragments of Magnússdrápa (Magndr), Þorfdr and Hardr. His greatest contribution to the development of skaldic poetry, however, is his authorship of the first known encomium in the hrynhent metre: the Hrynhenda which, since it apostrophises Magnús góði, must predate the memorial Magndr. Arn Frag 1III is in the same metre but probably unconnected (see above). It is possible that Arn Frag 4III is in praise of Knútr inn ríki and the non-royal dedicatees of Herm and Frag 1 have been mentioned above. Arnórr also appears in one recension of Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 262) as a poet of Óláfr kyrri ‘the Quiet’ Haraldsson (d. 1093), and the pres. tense praise of Arn Frag 3III could have been addressed to him, or alternatively to Haraldr in Blágagladrápa. Only one st., Arn Lv 1, seems clearly to be a lv.; it was spoken during a civil conflict in the Orkneys. Herm and the eight other Fragments are printed in SkP III since they are preserved in SnE and LaufE and cannot be certainly assigned to any of the poems in the present volume.

The principal eds consulted in the course of editing Arnórr’s poetry for SkP are listed for each st., and are of two main types: eds of the skaldic corpus (Finnur Jónsson’s in Skj AI, 332-54, BI, 305-27, BI, and E. A. Kock’s in Skald I, 155-65, supported by numerous NN) and eds of the various prose works in which the poetry is preserved. Extracts are also included in anthologies, articles and other works including (with ten or more sts): Munch and Unger 1847, 119-20; CPB II, 184-98; Wisén 1886-9, I, 44-6, 141-2, 199-200 (Hryn only); Kock and Meissner 1931, I, 48-53; Hollander 1945,177-88 (annotated translations only, mainly Hryn); and (with five sts): Turville-Petre 1976, 93-7. Other works containing comment on the poetry are cited as appropriate in the Notes.

files
file 2006-01-11 - Arnórr Þ reconstructions
file 2007-07-04 - Arnórr mss ordering

Magnússdrápa (‘Drápa about Magnús’) — Arn MagndrII

Diana Whaley 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Magnússdrápa’ 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. 206-29.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19 

Skj: Arnórr Þórðarson jarlaskáld: 3. Magnúsdrápa (AI, 338-43, BI, 311-15); stanzas (if different): 13 | 14

SkP info: II, 219-20

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

10 — Arn Magndr 10II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Magnússdrápa 10’ 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. 219-20.

Óð með øxi breiða
ódæsinn framm ræsir
— varð of hilmi Hǫrða
hjǫrdynr — ok varp brynju,
þás of skapt, en skipti
skapvǫrðr himins jǫrðu,
— Hel klauf hausa fǫlva —
hendr tvær jǫfurr spendi.

Ódæsinn ræsir óð framm með breiða øxi ok varp brynju; {hjǫrdynr} varð of {hilmi Hǫrða}, þás jǫfurr spendi tvær hendr of skapt, en {skapvǫrðr himins} skipti jǫrðu; Hel klauf fǫlva hausa.

The unsluggish ruler stormed forth with broad axe, and cast off his byrnie; {a sword-clash} [BATTLE] arose around {the ruler of the Hǫrðar} [NORWEGIAN KING = Magnús], as the prince clenched both hands around the shaft, and {the shaping guardian of heaven} [= God] allotted earth; Hel clove pallid skulls.

Mss: (511r-v), 39(16rb), F(40ra), E(7v), J2ˣ(250r) (Hkr); Holm2(74v-75r), 972ˣ(588va), 325VI(42vb), 321ˣ(285), 325V(90va), 61(130vb), Bb(206vb-207ra), Tóm(161v) (ÓH); FskBˣ(58r), FskAˣ(222) (Fsk, ll. 1-4); H(8v), Hr(8vb) (H-Hr); Flat(191va) (Flat)

Readings: [2] ódæsinn: ‘odælinn’ E, ‘odræsinn’ 325V, Tóm;    framm: frá Tóm    [3] varð: virð Tóm;    of: und 61;    Hǫrða: ‘hordan’ 61    [4] hjǫrdynr: ‘hiordvnr’ Bb, ‘hiorðine’ FskBˣ, hjǫrdyn H, Hr, hrædýr Flat;    ok: so F, Holm2, 972ˣ, 325VI, 321ˣ, 325V, 61, Bb, Tóm, FskBˣ, FskAˣ, H, Hr, Flat, en Kˣ, er E, J2ˣ;    brynju: brynjum Hr, Flat    [5] þás (‘þa er’): þar er E, J2ˣ, Holm2, þat er 325VI, 321ˣ, þá 325V;    en: er Bb;    skipti: skeptir 61, Tóm, skepti Flat    [6] ‑vǫrðr: vǫrð 61;    himins: ‘himis’ 325V    [7] Hel klauf hausa fǫlva: om. 61;    klauf: ‘klaup’ 321ˣ    [8] tvær: tveim 325V, tveimr 61, Tóm;    jǫfurr spendi: so 39, F, E, J2ˣ, Holm2, 972ˣ, 325VI, 321ˣ, 325V, 61, Bb, FskBˣ, H, Hr, Flat, jǫfurs spendu Kˣ, jǫfur spendar Tóm

Editions: Skj: Arnórr Þórðarson jarlaskáld, 3. Magnúsdrápa 10: AI, 340-1, BI, 313, Skald I, 159; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 48-9, ÍF 28, 43-4, Hkr 1991, 584 (Mgóð ch. 28); ÓH 1941, I, 630 (ch. 265); Fsk 1902-3, 212 (ch. 42), ÍF 29, 223 (ch. 50), F 1871, 183, E 1916, 24; Fms 6, 65 (Mgóð ch. 32), Fms 12, 132-3; Flat 1860-8, III, 281, Andersson and Gade 2000, 121, 469 (MH); Whaley 1998, 201-3.

Context: In Hkr, ÓH and H-Hr, the st. is quoted near the beginning of the account of the battle of Lyrskovshede (Hlýrskógsheiðr). After receiving heartening portents, Magnús casts off his byrnie and rushes into the attack. In Flat, st. 10 is the first of three sts by Arnórr which are quoted at the end of the brief account of the battle; it has the same summary role in Fsk.

Notes: [All]: This battle is also commemorated in st. 11 below, ÞjóðA Magnfl 6-7, Arn Hryn 13 and Þfagr Sveinn 1. — [2] ódæsinn ‘unsluggish’: I.e. ‘energetic’. Ódæsinn is recorded only here, although dæsinn and dásinn, both ‘inactive, feeble’ each appears once in LP, and dási m. ‘sluggish, inactive person’ twice. The literal sense of ódæsinn is ‘not out of breath, unwearied’ (cf. dæsa(sk) ‘groan, lose one’s breath from exhaustion’, p. p. dæstr ‘exhausted’). — [4] ok ‘and’: En ‘and/but’ in the main ms. and 39 also gives excellent sense, but ok has by far the stronger ms. support. — [6] skapvǫrðr himins ‘the shaping guardian of heaven [= God]’: Skapvǫrðr is a hap. leg. in which skap- could have the active sense ‘creating, shaping, fashioning’ emphasised here, or the passive ‘natural, fated’ as in the adjectives skapligr ‘natural, suitable’ and skapdauði ‘fated to die’. — [7] Hel: The axe Hel had, according to Snorri, been owned by Magnús’s father Óláfr (MgóðHkr ch. 28, ÍF 28, 43). Theodoricus, in his Historia (MHN 49) also reports that Magnús wielded his father’s axe (not there named) two-handed at Lyrskovshede (Hlýrskógsheiðr), and that it was shattered in the battle but is partly preserved in the cathedral at Trondheim (Niðaróss). Hel was the goddess of death and her realm in pre-Christian mythology, and by juxtaposing the name with himins ‘heaven’s’ and jǫrðu ‘earth’ (both l. 6) the skald seems to encourage these associations. — [8] jǫfurr spendi ‘the prince clenched’: This has much the stronger ms. authority, but ’s hendr tvær jǫfurs spendu (of skapt) ‘the prince’s two hands clenched (round the shaft)’ gives equally good sense, and is printed in Skj B, but must be secondary.

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