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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorbjǫrn hornklofi (Þhorn)

9th century; volume 1; ed. R. D. Fulk;

1. Glymdrápa (Gldr) - 10

Skj info: Þórbjǫrn hornklofi, Norsk skjald; omkr. 900. (AI, 22-29, BI, 20-26).

Skj poems:
1. Glymdrápa
2. Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál)
3. Lausavísa

Little is known about the Norwegian Þorbjǫrn hornklofi ‘Horn-cleaver (?)’. Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 273) names him as a poet of Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ (r. c. 860-c. 932). Judging from Fsk (ÍF 29, 59), he seems to have spent his whole life at the court of this king. Þorbjǫrn is the composer of two poems about Haraldr, Glymdrápa (Þhorn Gldr) and Haraldskvæði (Þhorn Harkv). Skálda saga, an anecdote about skalds preserved in Hb, and hardly likely to be historical, depicts him as one of three skalds, the other two being Auðunn illskælda ‘Bad-poet’ and Ǫlvir hnúfa ‘Snub-nose (?)’, each of whom attempts a romantic encounter with the same rich widow and then bemoans his failure in a lausavísa (see Auðunn Lv 2, Þhorn Lv, Ǫlv Lv 2). The three skalds are also named in Egils saga (ÍF 2, 19) as Haraldr’s favourites. They occupy places of honour in his hall, with Þorbjǫrn between the other two.

In the prose sources Þorbjǫrn is predominantly referred to only by his nickname Hornklofi. To date there is no satisfying explanation of this word. It is attested in the Þulur as a raven-heiti (see Þul Hrafns 1/5III and Note), but it does not occur in that sense in the surviving body of skaldic poetry. Scholars have claimed that the nickname refers to Þorbjǫrn’s device, in Þhorn Harkv, of having a raven speak in his stead (SnE 1848-87, III, 408; ÍF 26, 101 n. 1). Fidjestøl (1991, 126) is, however, justified in doubting this interpretation. An alternative possibility would be to link the nickname to Egill Hfl 16/6-7V (Eg 49): en jǫfurr heldr lǫndum hornklofi ‘and the ruler holds his lands by a hornklof’. But hornklofi here must be the dative of neuter hornklof, whereas Þorbjǫrn’s nickname is a masculine n-stem, and unfortunately the meaning of this passage is obscure, though hornklof seems to be some kind of tool.

my abbr.

Glymdrápa — Þhorn GldrI

Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Glymdrápa’ 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. 73.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9 

for reference only:  4x 

Skj: Þórbjǫrn hornklofi: 1. Glymdrápa (AI, 22-4, BI, 20-1); stanzas (if different): 3, 4/1-4 | 4/5-8

SkP info: I, 84

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — Þhorn Gldr 5I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Note: The following transcriptions have been entered to aid the editing process. These may not have been fully reviewed and checked and may therefore not be reliable. You may wish to consult the manuscript images. Any corrections can be notified to the database editor.

 Kx Haþi gramr þar er gnuðu | geira hreɢ v seɢi | rꜹð fnysti ben bloþi | bryngꜹgl i dyn scꜹglar | þa er a rꜹsn fyr ræsi | reð eɢlituðr seɢir | æfr gall her v hlifar | hnigu fiorvanir sigri |  edit 
 51x haðe gramr þar er gnyði | geíra rægg við se̋ggi | rauð fnystu bæn bloðe | bryngogl i dyn skoglar | þa er a rausn firir ræse | reð ægglituðr sæggia | æfr gall hiorr við lifar | nigu forvaner sigri. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 302x haðe gramr þar er gnyði | geyra rægg við séggi | rauð fnystu bæn bloðe | bryngogl i dyn skoglar. | þa er a rausn firir ræse | reð ægglituðr sæggia | æfr gall hiorr við lifar | nigu forvaner sigri. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 FskAx Haði gramr þar er gnuði | geira regg við seggi | rauð fnystu ben bloðe | bryn goghl i dyn skoghlar | þa er a roustn fyr ræsi | reð egglitaðr seggia | æfðr gall hiorr við lifðir | nighu fiorvanir seggir sighri |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 52x Haði gramr þar er gnuði | geira reɢ v seɢi | rꜹð fnystu ben bloði | bryn goghl i dyn skoglar | þa er a raustn fyrir ræse | reð eɢlitaþr seɢia || æfþr gall hioʀ v lifðir | nighu fiorvanir sigri |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 301x Gaðe gramr þar er gnuðe , geira regg við seggi , | rouð fnystu ben bloðe , bryngoghl i dyn skoghlar , þaer | a rausn fyr ræse , reð egglitaðr seɢia , æfr gall hiorr | við lifðir , nighu fiorvanir sighri . |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 R Haþi gramr þar er gnvþv geira | hreɢ vid seggi rꜹð fnvstv ben bloþi bengaugl at dyn skꜹglar |  edit 
 A Haði gramr þar ær gnyði gæira hregg v sæggi rꜹ́ð fnystv ben bloði ben || gǫgl at dyn skǫglar .   [VEÞ]  edit 

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