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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Glúmr Geirason (Glúmr)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Diana Whaley;

2. Gráfeldardrápa (Gráf) - 15

Skj info: Glúmr Geirason, Islandsk skjald omkr. 950-75. (AI, 75-8, BI, 65-8).

Skj poems:
1. Kvad om Erik blodøkse
2. Gráfeldardrápa
3. Lausavísa

Glúmr Geirason (Glúmr) was the son of Geiri (patronymic unknown), a Norwegian who settled in Iceland. Glúmr was born there in the early tenth century and moved with his father and brother from Mývatn, via Húnavatn, to Króksfjörður, Breiðafjörður, because of some killings (Ldn, ÍF 1, 284; he is also mentioned in ÍF 1, 154, 161, 238 and appears in Reykdœla saga, ÍF 10, 204-12). He married Ingunn Þórólfsdóttir, and their son was Þórðr Ingunnarson, who features in Laxdœla saga (ÍF 5, 86-7). Glúmr is named in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 273, 274) as the poet of Eiríkr blóðøx ‘Blood-axe’ (d. c. 954) and Haraldr gráfeldr ‘Grey-cloak’ (d. c. 970), and poems for both survive in part. Considerably more of Gráfeldardrápa (Gráf) survives than of the Poem about Eiríkr blóðøx (EirIII), though there is some difficulty in assigning certain stanzas to one or other poem (see Introduction to Gráf). Glúmr is the subject of HaukrV Ísldr 11IV, which depicts him as a zealous fighter who was with Haraldr gráfeldr at his victory at Fitjar (c. 961). Glúmr’s presence at the battle is somewhat in doubt, however, since although the Fsk text of his lausavísa on the subject (Glúmr Lv) contains sák ‘I saw’, the Hkr and ÓT mss have frák ‘I have heard’. From Glúmr Gráf it is clear that Glúmr outlived Haraldr (see Introduction). Edited below are Gráf and Lv, while the fragment of Eir is edited in SkP III since it is preserved only in SnE and TGT.

Gráfeldardrápa (‘Drápa about (Haraldr) gráfeldr ‘Grey-cloak’’) — Glúmr GráfI

Alison Finlay 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa’ 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. 245.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15 

Skj: Glúmr Geirason: 2. Gráfeldardrápa, c 970 (AI, 75-8, BI, 66-8); stanzas (if different): 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

SkP info: I, 260

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

11 — Glúmr Gráf 11I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa 11’ 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. 260.

Varð á víðu borði
viggjum hollr at liggja
gætir Glamma sóta
garðs Eylimafjarðar.
Sendir fell á sandi
sævar báls at Halsi;
olli jǫfra spjalli
orðheppinn því morði.

{Gætir {garðs {sóta Glamma}}}, hollr viggjum, varð at liggja á víðu borði Eylimafjarðar. {Sendir {báls sævar}} fell á sandi at Halsi; {orðheppinn spjalli jǫfra} olli því morði.

{The guardian {of the fence {of the steed of Glammi <sea-king>}}} [SHIP > SHIELD > WARRIOR], benevolent to horses, had to lie on the wide shore of Eylimi’s fjord [Limfjorden]. {The dispenser {of the fire of the sea}} [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN = Haraldr] fell on the sand at Hals; {the speech-blessed confidant of princes} [JARL = Hákon] caused that killing.

Mss: (128v), 39(5rb), F(22vb), J1ˣ(80r), J2ˣ(75r) (Hkr); 61(10vb), 53(8vb), 54(4vb), Bb(14va), 62(3va), Flat(11va) (ÓT); FskBˣ(18v), FskAˣ(75) (Fsk, ll. 5-8)

Readings: [1] víðu: breiðu Flat    [2] viggjum: byggjum Flat;    at: ‘[…]’ 39    [3] Glamma: gamla 61, 53, 54, Bb, 62, Flat    [4] garðs: garð J1ˣ, 61, 53, 54, Bb, 62, Flat;    Eylima‑: ey lima 61, 53, 54, Bb, 62, ‘eilima’ Flat;    ‑fjarðar: ‘[…]þar’ 39    [6] sævar: ‘[…]var’ 39;    at: á 53, 54, Bb;    Halsi: ‘[…]’ 39    [7] olli: ‘[…]’ 39;    jǫfra: jǫfurs 62;    spjalli: spilli Bb, falli 62

Editions: Skj: Glúmr Geirason, 2. Gráfeldardrápa 9: AI, 77, BI, 67, Skald I, 41, NN §§259, 260Hkr 1893-1901, I, 277, IV, 72, ÍF 26, 239, Hkr 1991, I, 159 (ÓTHkr ch. 14), F 1871, 104Fms 1, 88, Fms 12, 33, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 95 (ch. 53), Flat 1860-8, I, 85; Fsk 1902-3, 66 (ch. 14), ÍF 29, 109 (ch. 16).

Context: In Hkr, the stanza follows a statement that Haraldr gráfeldr fell in battle. In Fsk, sts 10 and 11/5-8 form a stanza that is cited as evidence for the battle having taken place on land, presumably since Haraldr is said to die á sandi at Halsi ‘on the sand at Hals’ (l. 6).

Notes: [All]: The reference to Gráf 11 in the Note to Arn Hardr 13/2II is to the stanza now numbered Gráf 12. — [1-4]: (a) The interpretation adopted here is essentially that of Sveinbjörn Egilsson (Fms 12; see also NN §259 and ÍF 26), taking Eylimafjarðar ‘of Eylimi’s fjord’ as a punning reference to Limafjǫrðr (Limfjorden), or perhaps reflecting a serious antiquarian belief that the p. n. derived from that of a legendary king (LP: Eylimi). Ey and lima are written as one word in many mss. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B) detaches ey ‘island’ from Limafjarðar ‘of Limfjorden’ and incorporates it in the kenning viggjum eygarðs ‘(with the) horses of the island-enclosure [SEA > SHIPS]’. Liggja then means not ‘lie (dead)’ but ‘lie at anchor’ (cf., e.g., ÞjóðA Har 5/5II). This produces a bland statement that does not relate to the death of Haraldr that is so prominent in the second helmingr. Further, viggjum hollr ‘benevolent to horses’, consecutive in the text, are separated, while eygarðs is read as a cpd, which involves assuming tmesis, which is rare in the earlier skaldic poetry. Interpretation (a) therefore seems preferable, despite the difficulty of hollr viggjum ‘benevolent to horses’ (see Note to l. 2). — [2] hollr viggjum ‘benevolent to horses’: Hollr ‘benevolent, friendly, loyal’ frequently governs a dat. of the beneficiary (LP: hollr), and this seems to be the case here. The horses are assumed to be literal, although in context metaphorical ones (as in the ship-kenning assumed by Finnur Jónsson, noted above) might seem more likely. If literal, the reference could be to horses kept for pagan ritual purposes (see Note to st. 13 [All] on Haraldr’s religion). Alternatively (as argued by Kock in NN §§259, 2203, followed in ÍF 26) the allusion could be to one of the tólf íþróttir ‘twelve accomplishments’ that Glúmr attributes to Haraldr in st. 14. This probably incomplete stanza does not enumerate the accomplishments, and the comparable stanzas attributed to Haraldr harðráði ‘Hard-rule’ (Hharð Gamv 4II) and Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson (Rv Lv 1II) do not include horsemanship in their lists, but Kock includes it among a number of skills attributed to kings in Old Norse and Old English sources, and specifically (NN §259) in the eddic Rígsþula ( 35, 37, 42, 47). — [4] Eylimafjarðar ‘of Eylimi’s fjord [Limfjorden]’: It is clear from at Halsi ‘at Hals’ in l. 6 that the reference is to Limfjorden, the large strait (and until c. 1200 also a sea passage) across northern Jutland (see Note to Sigv Knútdr 8/8). — [6] at Halsi ‘at Hals’: Located at the eastern end of Limfjorden. It is possible that Glúmr knew a form of Hals with long vowel, which would provide a more exact rhyme on báls here, though lengthening in this and similar contexts does not generally occur until c. 1200 or shortly before (see ANG §124.3.) — [7] spjalli jǫfra ‘confidant of princes [JARL = Hákon]’: Snorri (SnE 1998, I, 81) cites the kenning spjalli konungs ‘confidant of a king’ among kennings for jarlar ok hersar ok hirðmenn ‘jarls and hersar and retainers’, quoting Hfr Hákdr 5/2III, in which this kenning is used of Hákon jarl Sigurðarson. The jarl referred to here may well be the same Hákon, who according to the prose accounts (the fullest of which is in Fsk, ÍF 29, 104-9) engineered the killing of Haraldr gráfeldr by persuading Gull-Haraldr, nephew of Haraldr Gormsson of Denmark, to kill Haraldr gráfeldr in order to gain rule over Norway. Hákon then killed Gull-Haraldr on the pretext of his supposed disloyalty to Haraldr Gormsson, and took control over Norway himself. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 26) notes that the kenning could also apply to the direct agent, Gull-Haraldr. — [8] orðheppinn ‘speech-blessed’: (a) The adj., a hap. leg., is here construed with ll. 7-8, and the helmingr is read as two couplets. The attribution of verbal effectiveness seems to fit Hákon jarl most appropriately, both in general (in one of the two versions of Hfr Hákdr 5/2III he is described as snjallmæltr ‘wise in speech’) and in the context of the story of his incitement of Gull-Haraldr. (b) Grammatically it could qualify the subject of ll. 5-6, Haraldr gráfeldr, and this is how it is construed in Skj B.  — [8] því morði ‘that killing’: Morð is taken here to refer specifically to the death of Haraldr, but in skaldic language it often means ‘battle’, which is an alternative possibility here.

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