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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eldjárn (Eldj)

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

Lausavísur (Lv) - 2

Skj info: Eldjárn, Islænder, omkr. 1100. (AI, 437, BI, 407).

Skj poems:

Nothing is known about Eldjárn (Eldj) aside from the information provided in Giffarðs þáttr (Mork 1928-32, 323-6; Fms 7, 56-61). He is not listed in Skáldatal, and the two lvv. below are all that remains of his poetic oeuvre. According to Giffarðs þáttr, Eldjárn was a young Icelander from Húsavík who met a Norman knight, Giffarðr (a former follower of King Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson), when Eldjárn was on his way from Constantinople to England (c. 1102). He composed a derogatory st. about Giffarðr and was subsequently sued by the knight for slander. Eldjárn redeemed himself by reciting another st., but in that st. he praised Giffarðr for valour he had not displayed, thus ridiculing him anew.

Lausavísur — Eldj LvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Eldjárn, Lausavísur’ 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. 406-8.

 1   2 

Skj: Eldjárn: Lausavísur, 1100 (AI, 437, BI, 407)

SkP info: II, 406-7

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Eldj Lv 1II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Eldjárn, Lausavísur 1’ 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. 406-7.

Hví samir hitt at dúsa
hirðmanni geðstirðum?
Vest nú, þótt kjǫl kosti,
knár, riddari inn hári.
Þats satt, at býðk byttu
(breiðhúfuðum) reiða
(austrs til hár í hesti
hvaljarðar) Giffarði.


Why is it fitting for a strong-minded retainer to take it easy? Be active now, hoary knight, although the keel is sorely tried. It’s true that I tell Giffarðr to swing the bucket; the bilge-water is too high in {the broad-hulled horse {of the whale-land}}. [SEA > SHIP]

context: Eldjárn recites this st. on the journey to England to taunt the Norman knight Giffarðr. In LaufE, the second helmingr is used to illustrate that hestr hvaljarðar ‘horse of the whale-land’ is a kenning for ‘ship’.

notes: [5-8]: The helmingr in LaufE must have been excerpted from a saga about Magnús berfœttr: skip heiter hestur hual jardar, so sem kuad Elldjarn jslendske, j sogu Magnusar kongs ‘a ship is called a horse of the whale-land, as Eldjárn the Icelander said in the saga of King Magnús’ (LaufE 1979, 395). — [8]: For Giffarðr, see Notes to Mberf Lv 2/2 and Anon (Mberf) 5/2.

editions: Skj Eldjárn: Lausavísur 1 (AI, 437; BI, 407); Skald I, 201, NN §916; Mork 1867, 148, Mork 1928-32, 325, Andersson and Gade 2000, 304, 486 (Mberf); Fms 7, 59 (Mberf ch. 29); F 1871, 273, E 1916, 122 (Mberf); LaufE 1979, 395.


GKS 1009 fol (Mork) 23v, 42 - 23v, 42 (Mork)  image  image  image  
AM 66 fol (H) 91r - 91v (H-Hr)  image  image  image  image  
GKS 1010 fol (Hr) 62vb, 22 - 62vb, 22 (H-Hr)  image  
AM 45 fol (F) 59ra, 22 - 59ra, 25  image  image  image  image  
AM 47 fol (E) 34v, 32 - 34v, 34  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 312v, 20 - 312v, 27  image  
AM 42 folx (42x) 13r, 9 - 13r, 9  image  
GKS 2368 4°x (2368x) 130 - 130 [5-8] (LaufE)  image  
AM 743 4°x (743x) 98r, 19 - 98r, 22 [5-8] (LaufE)  image  image  
AM 761 b 4°x (761bx) 543r, 22 - 543v, 4  image  
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