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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson (Eyv)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Russell Poole;

3. Lausavísur (Lv) - 14

Skj info: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, Norsk skjald, 10. årh. (d. omkr. 990). (AI, 64-74, BI, 57-65).

Skj poems:
1. Hákonarmál
2. Háleygjatal
3. Lausavísur

Eyvindr (Eyv, c. 915-990) has been called the last important Norwegian skald (Genzmer 1920, 159; also Boyer 1990a, 201). He is listed in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 256, 261, 265-6) among the poets of Hákon góði ‘the Good’ Haraldsson and Hákon jarl Sigurðarson. His maternal grandmother was a daughter of Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’, and he seems to have been close to Haraldr’s son Hákon góði from early on, serving at his court as one of a group of brilliant skalds. After Hákon’s death he resided at the court of Haraldr gráfeldr ‘Grey-cloak’, but relations with Haraldr seem to have soured quickly, as evidenced by his lausavísur. Eyvindr spent the last part of his life with the powerful Hákon jarl Sigurðarson of Hlaðir (Lade), whose family had supported Hákon góði against the sons of Eiríkr blóðøx ‘Blood-axe’. According to Hkr (ÍF 26, 221), in addition to Háleygjatal (Hál), Hákonarmál (Hák) and the lausavísur, Eyvindr composed a poem Íslendingadrápa, but this has not come down to us. The epithet skáldaspillir is usually interpreted to mean ‘Plagiarist’, literally ‘Destroyer (or Despoiler?) of Poets’ in reference to his habit of drawing inspiration from and alluding to earlier compositions, specifically Ynglingatal (Þjóð Yt) for Hál and Eiríksmál (Anon Eirm), along with several eddic poems, for Hák (see Introductions to Hál and Hák). The alternative interpretation ‘Poem-reciter’ proposed by Wadstein (1895a, 88) is unconvincing; see further Olsen (1962a, 28), and Beck (1994a). For further biographical information, see LH I, 447-9, Holm-Olsen (1953) and Marold (1993a).

Lausavísur — Eyv LvI

Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur’ 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. 213.

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Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir: 3. Lausavísur (AI, 71-4, BI, 62-5)

SkP info: I, 215

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Eyv Lv 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur 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. 215.

Blóðøxar téa beiða
brynþings fetilstinga
(oss gerask hneppt) ins hvassa
hefnendr (setuefni).
Heldr es vant, en vildak
veg þinn, konungr, segja
— fôum til fornra vápna
fljótt — hersǫgu dróttni.


The avengers of the keen [Eiríkr] Blóðøx (‘Blood-axe’) are asking for {a mail-shirt-assembly} [BATTLE] {with the sword-belt-stabber}; [SWORD] the chances of peace are becoming scant for us. It is rather difficult to tell a lord a tale of war, but I wished for your honour, king; let us quickly reach for our old weapons.

context: The sons of Gunnhildr obtain intelligence that Hákon is attending a seasonal feast (veizla) at Fitjar on the island of Storð (Stord). They sail to intercept him, with a full complement of warriors, under the immediate command of Eyvindr skreyja ‘Wretch’ Ǫzurarson tóta (see Lv 3/4, 4/2 and Note to Lv 3/4). Hákon is caught unawares while at his day-time meal. Members of his entourage delegate the task of alerting the king to Eyvindr (so Fsk; the Hkr narration does not reveal the identity of the attackers at first).

notes: For the battle of Fitjar (c. 961), see also Lv 2-5 below, Eyv Hák 2-9, ÞSjár Þórdr and Glúmr Lv. — Eyvindr is given the following aphoristic speech: ‘Litil er liðanda stund hærra en langt matmal’, ‘It’s a short time for somebody sailing, my lord, but a long time for a meal’ (Fsk 1902-3, 36; similarly Hkr, ÓT). It is possible that Eyvindr’s lausavísa was based on such dialogue. — [7]: The line lacks skothending as it stands and some eds have attempted to supply it. Jón Þorkelsson (1884, 44) tentatively replaces fôum and variants with fǫrum ‘we go / let us go’. Kock (NN §§2216, 2509, 2902F, I, 3048, 3396H) emends vápna to varna ‘defences, defensive weapons’. But such regularisations are scarcely warranted: hendingar were not mandatory in odd lines (cf. Notes to Lv 14/3, 4 and 14/5).

texts: Flat 197 (15), Fsk 37, HákGóð 14 (I 73), ÓT 15, Hkr 83 (I 73)

editions: Skj Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir: 3. Lausavísur 1 (961 - AI, 71; BI, 62);

Skald I, 39, NN §§253, 1079D, 2215, 2216, 2509, 2902F, I, 3048, 3396H; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 209, IV, 53, ÍF 26, 183-4, Hkr 1991, I, 117 (HákGóð ch. 28), F 1871, 80; Fms 1, 41, Fms 12, 28, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 40-1 (ch. 25), Flat 1860-8, I, 59; Fsk 1902-3, 36-7 (ch. 11), ÍF 29, 84-5 (ch. 12); Krause 1990, 205-10.


AM 35 folx (Kx) 101r, 1 - 101r, 8 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  image  
AM 761 b 4°x (761bx) 74v, 5 - 74v, 12  image  
AM 45 fol (F) 17vb, 12 - 17vb, 15 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  image  image  image  
AM 37 folx (J1x) 61r, 12 - 61r, 16 (Hkr)  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 57r, 14 - 57r, 21 (Hkr)  image  
AM 61 fol (61) 5vb, 17 - 5vb, 19 (ÓT)  image  image  
AM 53 fol (53) 4vb, 29 - 4vb, 33 (ÓT)  image  
AM 325 IX 1 a 4° (325IX 1 a) 2rb, 26 - 2rb, 30 (ÓT)  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb) 7va, 20 - 7va, 24 (ÓT)  image  
GKS 1005 fol (Flat) 8ra, 41 - 8ra, 44 (ÓT)  image  image  image  
OsloUB 371 folx (FskBx) 9r, 11 - 9r, 18 (Fsk)  image  
AM 51 folx (51x) 7v, 20 - 7v, 27 (Fsk)  transcr.  image  
AM 302 4°x (302x) 12v, 7 - 12v, 14 (Fsk)  transcr.  
AM 303 4°x (FskAx) 47, 9 - 47, 16 (Fsk)  transcr.  image  
AM 52 folx (52x) 18v, 23 - 19r, 2 (Fsk)  transcr.  image  
AM 301 4°x (301x) 17r, 12 - 17r, 16 (Fsk)  transcr.  
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