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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.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14 

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

SkP info: I, 228

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

9 — Eyv Lv 9I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur 9’ 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. 228.

Fullu skein á fjǫllum
fallsól bráa vallar
Ullar kjóls of allan
aldr Hôkonar skǫldum.
Nús alfrǫðull elfar
jǫtna dolgs of folginn
— rôð eru rammrar þjóðar
rík — í móður líki.

{Fallsól {vallar bráa} Fullu} skein á {fjǫllum {kjóls Ullar}} skǫldum of allan aldr Hôkonar. Nús {alfrǫðull elfar} of folginn í {líki móður {dolgs jǫtna}}; rôð rammrar þjóðar eru rík.

{The setting sun {of the plain of the brows of Fulla <goddess>}} [FOREHEAD > GOLD] shone on {the mountains {of the ship of Ullr <god>}} [SHIELD > ARMS/HANDS] of skalds throughout Hákon’s whole lifetime. Now {the sun of the river} [GOLD] is hidden in {the body of the mother {of the enemy of the giants}} [= Þórr > = Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’)]; the resolutions of the mighty people are powerful.

Mss: (108v), F(19ra), J1ˣ(65r), J2ˣ(62v) (Hkr); 61(6va), Bb(8vb) (ÓT); FskBˣ(14v), FskAˣ(63) (Fsk); R(28r) (ll. 1-4), R(26r) (ll. 5-8), Tˣ(29r) (ll. 1-4), Tˣ(27r) (ll. 5-8), W(60) (ll. 1-4), W(56) (ll. 5-8), U(30v) (ll. 1-4), U(42r) (ll. 1-4), U(29r-v) (ll. 5-8), B(5r) (ll. 5-8) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Fullu: so R, Tˣ, W, U(30v), U(42r), fyllar Kˣ, F, FskBˣ, fullar J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 61, Bb, ‘fillar’ FskAˣ;    á: af F    [2] fallsól bráa: so F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 61, Bb, R, Tˣ, W, U(30v), ‘fall sol bla’ Kˣ, fallsólar brá FskBˣ, ‘fall solbraar’ FskAˣ, fjallsól brá U(42r);    vallar: valla FskAˣ    [3] Ullar: ull W;    of (‘vm’): ef Bb    [4] konar: ‘hakonr’ J1ˣ;    skǫldum: skjǫldum FskBˣ    [5] alf‑: afl‑ FskBˣ;    ‑rǫðull: ‑rǫðul F, ‑rauðr Bb    [6] of (‘vm’): ‘for’ J1ˣ, af B    [7] rôð: rof U;    eru: ‘eno’ Tˣ;    rammrar: rammar FskBˣ    [8] rík í móður líki: ríkmagnaðrar slíkrar B;    í: om. J1ˣ;    móður líki: blank space W

Editions: Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 3. Lausavísur 9: AI, 73, BI, 64, Skald I, 40; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 226-7, IV, 63, ÍF 26, 201, Hkr 1991, I, 133 (HGráf ch. 1), F 1871, 86; Fms 1, 50, Fms 12, 31, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 49 (ch. 31); Fsk 1902-3, 54 (ch. 13), ÍF 29, 99-100 (ch. 14); SnE 1848-87, I, 320-1, 346-7, II, 315, 319, 358, 527, SnE 1931, 115, 125, SnE 1998, I, 35, 43; Krause 1990, 250-4.

Context: As for Lv 8 in the kings’ sagas. The first helmingr is cited in SnE (twice in U) in a section illustrating kennings for ‘gold’, and the second in one illustrating kennings for ‘earth’.

Notes: [1]: The diction of the line evokes a natural image of the sun setting over mountains (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) while also providing continuity from fjǫllum Fýrisvalla ‘mountains of Fýrisvellir’ in Lv 8/3. — [1, 2] fallsól vallar bráa Fullu ‘the setting sun of the plain of the brows of Fulla <goddess> [FOREHEAD > GOLD]’: The little-known goddess Fulla is described in Gylf (SnE 2005, 29, 47) as a maidservant of Frigg who, as an unmarried woman, wears her hair free of a headdress but with a golden band, and this motif supplies the basis for a gold-kenning pattern (on Fulla, see also Note to Þul Ásynja 1/4III). The variant Fyllar (gen. sg.) appears to be a strong-declension by-form of Fulla with nom. *Fyllr (ÍF 26; ÍF 29). The specific mention of the setting sun (cf. sólarfall ‘sunset’, Konráð Gíslason 1892, 70) may relate to the redness of some gold: cf. rautt goll ‘red gold’ (LP: rauðr); ÍF 26 gives a more naturalistic explanation. — [3] kjóls Ullar ‘of the ship of Ullr <god> [SHIELD]’: This kenning type is familiar, but no explanation for it occurs in SnE; see also ÞjóðA Frag 3/2II and Note. — [3, 4] of allan aldr Hôkonar ‘throughout Hákon’s whole lifetime’: Cf. the closely similar phrasing in Lv 8/1, 4.  — [5] alfrǫðull ‘the sun’: Lit. ‘elf-beam’, used both as a common noun and as a proper name for the sun (LP: álfrǫðull). — [7-8] rôð rammrar þjóðar eru rík ‘the resolutions of the mighty people are powerful’: The identity of the þjóð ‘people’ and the nature of their rôð ‘resolutions’ is uncertain; Bjarni Einarsson (ÍF 29) glosses the clause því veldur ráðríki höfðingja (?) ‘that is caused by the imperiousness of the leaders (?)’. It is normally taken to refer to King Haraldr gráfeldr and his brothers (Hkr 1893-1901, IV), but an alternative identification, with a more standard interpretation of the word þjóð, would be with the people of the Trøndelag at large, whose resentment of the harsh rule of the Gunnhildarsynir (Eiríkssynir) contributed to Haraldr gráfeldr’s eventual destruction (Andersen 1977, 96-7; cf. Hkr 1991; ÍF 26 offers both identifications). Eyvindr stigmatises Haraldr as a folkstríðir ‘afflicter of the people’ in Lv 8/5 and may here be encouraging resistance.

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