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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Stúfr inn blindi Þórðarson kattar (Stúfr)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Stúfsdrápa (Stúfdr) - 8

Skj info: Stúfr enn blindi Þórðarson kattar, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 404-5, BI, 373-4).

Skj poems:
Stúfsdrápa, Stúfa

Stúfr inn blindi ‘the Blind’ Þórðarson kattar ‘of the Cat’ came from an illustrious family of Icel. poets. He was the great-grandson of the skald Glúmr Geirason (GlúmrI) and the grandson of Guðrún Ósvífrsdóttir (see Laxdœla saga, ÍF 5, 87, 94, 281-90). He was also related to Einarr skálaglamm ‘Tinkle-scales’ (EskálI), Úlfr stallari ‘the Marshal’ Óspaksson (Úlfr) and Steinn Herdísarson (Steinn) (See Genealogy IV, ÍF 5). What we know about his life is detailed in two versions of Stúfs þáttr, which has been transmitted in a longer and a shorter version (see ÍF 5, xcii-xciv, 279-90). Stúfr was born c. 1025 and, as his nickname indicates, he must have been blind or had extremely poor vision (it could be, however, that his eyesight failed him in old age, contributing to his nickname; see ÍF 5, xciii). Around 1060 he travelled to Norway to claim an inheritance, and while he was there he met King Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson. The following summer Stúfr visited the king in Trondheim, became his retainer and recited a poem which he had composed in Haraldr’s honour. He then apparently returned to Iceland, and nothing more is known about him (see also SnE 1848-87, III, 593-5; LH 1894-1901, I, 633-4). Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 275) lists him among the court poets of Haraldr harðráði.

Stúfsdrápa — Stúfr StúfdrII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Stúfr inn blindi Þórðarson kattar, Stúfsdrápa’ 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. 350-8.

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Skj: Stúfr enn blindi Þórðarson kattar: Stúfsdrápa, Stúfa, o. 1067 (AI, 404-5, BI, 373-4)

SkP info: II, 355

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — Stúfr Stúfdr 5II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Stúfr inn blindi Þórðarson kattar, Stúfsdrápa 5’ 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, p. 355.

Autt varð Falstr at fréttum;
fekk drótt mikinn ótta;
gœddr vas hrafn, en hræddir
hvert ár Danir vôru.

Falstr varð autt at fréttum; drótt fekk mikinn ótta; hrafn vas gœddr, en Danir vôru hræddir hvert ár.

Falster was laid waste, according to reports; people were overcome with great fear; the raven was fattened, and the Danes were frightened every year.

Mss: Mork(9r) (Mork); Flat(197vb) (Flat); H(44v), Hr(32ra) (H-Hr); FskBˣ(70r-v), FskAˣ(263) (Fsk); Kˣ(542r), 39(23va), F(45vb), E(16r), J2ˣ(270r) (Hkr)

Readings: [1] Autt: Eytt Flat;    varð: var Flat, FskAˣ;    Falstr: ‘falar’ Flat, flaustr Hr    [3] gœddr vas: bræðisk Flat;    gœddr: gladdr H, FskAˣ, glaðr Hr, FskBˣ;    vas (‘var’): varð H, Hr, FskAˣ, F, E    [4] Danir: bœndr FskBˣ, FskAˣ

Editions: Skj: Stúfr enn blindi Þórðarson kattar, Stúfsdrápa, Stúfa 5: AI, 405, BI, 374, Skald I, 186, NN §881; Mork 1867, 54, Mork 1928-32, 160, Andersson and Gade 2000, 197-8, 476 (MH); Flat III, 338 (MH); Fms 6, 255 (HSig ch. 49); ÍF 29, 253 (ch. 55); ÍF 28, 112 (HSig ch. 33), F 1871, 212, E 1916, 55.

Context: After the death of his nephew, Magnús Óláfsson, in 1047, Haraldr became sole ruler of Norway, and he harried in Denmark every summer in his ongoing warfare against Sveinn Úlfsson of Denmark.

Notes: [1] at fréttum ‘according to reports’: Skj B connects this prepositional phrase with the next cl.: drótt fekk mikinn ótta at fréttum (translated as ved efterretningen blev folk meget forskrækkede ‘at the news people became very frightened’). That interpretation creates an awkward syntax (see NN §881). Stúfr was blind or of weak eyesight, and he must have relied on eyewitness accounts of the events in Haraldr’s life that he commemorated in his drápa. — [3] gœddr ‘fattened’: Gladdr ‘pleased’ (so H, FskAˣ) is metrically and syntactically possible, but the other ms. witnesses show that it is a lectio facilior. — [4] Danir ‘the Danes’: Bœndr (i.e. búendr) ‘the farmers’ (so FskBˣ, FskAˣ) is metrically correct, but clearly secondary.

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