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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gizurr svarti (gullbrárskáld) (Gizsv)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Diana Whaley;

Lausavísa (Lv) - 1

Skj info: Gizurr gullbrárskáld, Islandsk skjald, d. 1030. (AI, 316, BI, 292-293).

Skj poems:
1. Af et fyrstedigt
2. Lausavísa

It is not certain whether Gizurr svarti ‘the Black’ (Gizsv) is the same man as Gizurr gullbrá(r) (‘Gold-eyelash’) or gullbrárskáld (‘Gold-eyelash’s poet’) or Gullbrárfóstri (‘Foster-kinsman of Gullbrá’, Flat 1860-8, II, 226). Skáldatal in the 761aˣ redaction (SnE 1848-87, III, 252, 253) lists Gizurr svarti as poet to Óláfr sœnski ‘the Swede’ Eiríksson and Gizurr Gullbrá as poet to Óláfr inn helgi Haraldsson (S. Óláfr), while the U redaction (ibid., 261 and n. 2) lists ‘Gizurr gullbr.’ under Óláfr Tryggvason, which has been taken as an error. A helmingr preserved in SnE and edited in SkP III (Gizsv FragIII) is attributed merely to ‘Gizurr’ and celebrates ‘Óláfr’, which does not help to disentangle the Óláfrs but may suggest that there is only one Gizurr, and this is supported by the fact that Gizurr svarti in ÓHLeg equates with Gizurr gullbrár elsewhere, and that the chronology is compatible. Gizurr gullbrá is introduced in ÓHHkr (ÍF 27, 358) as the foster-father of Hofgarða-Refr, which, as Finnur Jónsson mentions (LH I, 567), would make him a man of at least fifty when he followed King Óláfr Haraldsson to Garðaríki (Russia) in the late 1020s (Flat 1860-8, II, 315) and fought for him at Stiklastaðir (Stiklestad) in 1030. Gizurr’s death in the battle is mentioned along with that of his fellow skald Þorfinnr munnr (ÓHHkr, ÍF 27, 381), and his heroic defence is commemorated in Refr Giz 1III.

Lausavísa — Gizsv LvI

Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Gizurr svarti (gullbrárskáld), Lausavísa’ 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. 817.

 1 

Skj: Gizurr gullbrárskáld: 2. Lausavísa, 1030 (AI, 316, BI, 293); stanzas (if different): [v]

SkP info: I, 818

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Gizsv Lv 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Gizurr svarti (gullbrárskáld), Lausavísa 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. 818.

Skala óglaðan æva
— orð fregni þat; borða
búumk við þrǫng á þingi —
þegns dóttir mik fregna,
þótt sigrunnar svinnir
segi vôn Heðins kvánar;
verum í Ála éli
austr bragningi at trausti.

Dóttir þegns skala fregna mik æva óglaðan — fregni þat orð; búumk við þrǫng á {þingi borða} —, þótt {svinnir sigrunnar} segi vôn {kvánar Heðins}; verum austr í {éli Ála} at trausti bragningi.

The retainer’s daughter shall not hear that I am ever [lit. never] unhappy — may she hear of that word; we are preparing for a crush in {the assembly of shields} [BATTLE] —, though {prudent battle-trees} [WARRIORS] say there is prospect {of the woman of Heðinn <legendary hero>} [= Hildr (hildr ‘battle’)]; let us be east in {the blizzard of Áli <legendary king>} [BATTLE] in loyal support of the king.

Mss: (457r) (Hkr); Holm2(64v), 972ˣ(493va), J2ˣ(219r-v), 321ˣ(245), Bæb(4ra), 68(63v), Holm4(59va), 61(122rb), 325V(78ra), 325VII(35v), Bb(195va), Flat(122vb), Tóm(152v) (ÓH); DG8(100v) (ÓHLeg); 141ˣ(51v) (Fbr)

Readings: [1] Skala: skulum 972ˣ, Holm4, skulu 61, Flat, Tóm, ‘Skalu’ 325VII;    óglaðan: óglaðir in margin Holm2, óglaðir 972ˣ, ógladdan 68;    æva: so 321ˣ, Bæb, ifa Kˣ, Holm2, 972ˣ, J2ˣ, 68, Holm4, 61, 325V, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm, DG8, 141ˣ    [2] orð fregni: orð má 972ˣ, ‘orfregni’ 321ˣ, ‘[...]ð fregne’ Holm4, orð fengan 61, orð fregin Tóm, ‘orðz [...]’ DG8;    þat: þetta 972ˣ, þau 61, Flat, Tóm, 141ˣ, ‘[...]’ DG8;    borða: forðum 972ˣ, skorða DG8    [3] búumk: ‘buniz’ 321ˣ, búisk 61    [4] þegns: þegn 321ˣ;    dóttir: dróttir Tóm;    mik: vel 972ˣ, corrected from þat 325VII, mun Bb, megi Flat    [5] sig‑: so Holm2, J2ˣ, 321ˣ, Bæb, 68, Bb, DG8, sigr‑ Kˣ, Holm4, 61, 325V, 325VII, Flat, Tóm, 141ˣ;    svinnir: svinnan DG8    [6] segi: ‘sægit’ 325VII, seggi Tóm, segi ek DG8;    vôn: vann Tóm;    Heðins: ‘hednis’ 972ˣ, heðin 68, heðan‑ 325VII, heiðins Bb;    kvánar: ‑kvmu 325VII    [7] verum: verim 321ˣ, ‘værr’ 325VII;    Ála: ósa 61, ‘ola’ 325V, Tóm    [8] austr: aust Tóm;    bragningi: bragninga 61, Tóm, ‘brangninga’ 325VII, Tóm;    at: om. 61, Flat, Tóm, DG8, 141ˣ;    trausti: gagni 68, traustir Flat, DG8, 141ˣ

Editions: Skj: Gizurr gullbrárskáld, 2. Lausavísa: AI, 316, BI, 293, Skald I, 149, NN §2015; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 460, IV, 162-3, ÍF 27, 358-9, Hkr 1991, II, 514 (ÓHHkr ch. 206); Fms 5, 57, Fms 12, 98, ÓH 1941, I, 544 (ch. 203), Flat 1860-8, II, 341; ÓHLeg 1922, 84, ÓHLeg 1982, 192-3.

Context: ÓH-Hkr: Drawing up troops before the battle of Stiklastaðir (Stiklestad), Óláfr Haraldsson allocates places in the shield-wall to his skalds, telling them to compose about what they see. Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld has a bitter exchange with the king about the absence of Sigvatr Þórðarson, then the skalds decide they are better off composing verse. Gizurr svarti/Gullbrárskáld, Þorfinnr munnr and Þormóðr utter a stanza each (see Þorf Lv; Þorm Lv 19), which men learn straight away. In ÓHLeg too the context is the prelude to Stiklastaðir but otherwise it differs, and the stanza is spoken by Þormóðr.

Notes: [All]: For the battle of Stiklastaðir and other skaldic poetry associated with it, see the entry on Óláfr Haraldsson’ in ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume. — [1] æva ‘ever [lit. never]’: This, the reading of 321ˣ and Bæb, is the only one that provides good sense and the necessary long syllable in this position in the line. It may be, however, that the majority reading ‘ifa’ conceals a now lost word for ‘sword’, or perhaps ‘battle’, ‘valkyrie’, or the name of a sea-king (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; cf. ÍF 27 which favours ‘sea-king’). This could form part of a shield-kenning with borða if that is taken in the sense ‘boards’; the shield-kenning would then form a battle-kenning with þing ‘assembly’. Kock (NN §2015; Skald) favoured íva, which he took as a variant of ý- ‘yew (bow)’. — [2] fregni þat orð ‘may she hear of that word’: The subject is taken here as the woman referred to in l. 4. Alternatively it could be unspecified, and fregni could be taken as pl., hence ‘may they/people hear’. The object (orð ‘word’) is presumably the skald’s defiant speech. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) emended to fengum ‘we gained’, which would be partly justified by the 61 reading fengan, and perhaps by the assumption that fregni in l. 2 erroneously anticipates fregna in l. 4. However, the emendation is unnecessary and only gives good sense on Finnur’s assumption that þat orð would refer to the speaker’s reputation for courage. — [4] dóttir þegns ‘the retainer’s daughter’: The identity of this woman is unknown, and the allusion may be merely conventional (cf. Frank 1990a).  — [5] sigrunnar ‘battle-trees [WARRIORS]’: Terms for ‘battle’ are common as determinants of warrior-kennings. The reading sigrrunnar ‘victory-trees’ in and other mss is also possible. The etymological and semantic relationship between sig n. ‘battle’ and sigr ‘victory’ is somewhat uncertain (see LP: sig, sigr; AEW: sig 2, sigr), and it is particularly difficult to distinguish between the two in compounds (cf. CVC: sig n. [sigr], and see Note to Sigv Ást 1/4 sigrhvatastr). — [6] kvánar Heðins ‘of the woman of Heðinn [= Hildr (hildr “battle”)]’: On Heðinn and the valkyrie Hildr, whose name means ‘battle’, see Note to Hfr ErfÓl 24/4. — [7] éli Ála ‘the blizzard of Áli <legendary king> [BATTLE]’: The same kenning appears in Þorm Lv 19/1, attributed to the same occasion. — [8] austr ‘east’: In Norway, viewed from an Icelandic perspective (so Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901, IV).

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