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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞKolb Eirdr 5I

Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa 5’ 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. 496.

Þórðr KolbeinssonEiríksdrápa
456

Jǫfrum varð, en urðu
allhvasst Danir falla,
blóðhelsingja bræðir,
brœðr Sigvarðar, œðri.

{Bræðir {blóðhelsingja}} varð œðri jǫfrum, en Danir urðu falla allhvasst {brœðr Sigvarðar}.

{The feeder {of blood-geese}} [RAVENS/EAGLES > WARRIOR] overcame princes, and the Danes had to fall most rapidly {before the brother of Sigurðr} [= Eiríkr].

Mss: FskBˣ(32r), FskAˣ(117) (Fsk)

Readings: [3] ‑helsingja: ‘hesingia’ FskAˣ;    bræðir: bráðir FskBˣ, FskAˣ    [4] brœðr: ‘broðr’ FskAˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 212, Skj BI, 202, Skald I, 106, NN §§1113C, 2463E; Fsk 1902-3, 106 (ch. 20), ÍF 29, 139-40 (ch. 22).

Context: After Hákon jarl’s success against the Jómsvíkingar, his harsh rule and immoral conduct provoke an uprising. Staying at a farmstead in Gaulardalr (Gauldalen), Hákon is killed by his servant Skopti karkr. Eiríkr, who has been at odds with his father, flees from Norway to the court of the Swedish king, Óláfr.

Notes: [All]: This helmingr’s sole source, Fsk, presents it as a stanza with st. 6/1-4. However, it is likely to refer to the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen), which is the subject of sts 1-4, but not of sts 6-7; see Introduction. — [1, 4] varð œðri ‘overcame’: Lit. ‘became superior’. For this usage, see Fritzner: œðri 2; LP: œðri 3. — [1] en ‘and’: The sense of the helmingr suggests that this unstressed word is the conj. ‘but, and’ rather than the adv. enn ‘still, further’. The mss have enn (and so Skald), but spellings of en and enn are often interchangeable; en is also printed in Skj B and ÍF 29. — [3] blóðhelsingja ‘of blood-geese [RAVENS/EAGLES]’: Cf. Þórðr’s synonymous kenning blóðgǫgl ‘blood-geese’ (ÞKolb Lv 11/6V (BjH 38)). Helsingr ‘(long-)neck’ is a sword-heiti (see Þul Sverða 8/7III and Note) and a bird-heiti (Þul Fugla 1/4III), seemingly referring to the barnacle goose. If helsingja is gen. sg. it would imply a nom. sg. *helsingi, and this is assumed in Meissner 120 and LP: blóðhelsingi, but there appears to be no ON attestation of this form, and gen. pl. is probable here. — [3] bræðir ‘the feeder’: A sg. base-word meaning ‘feeder, gladdener’ is clearly required here (for parallels, see Meissner 291). Therefore although the pl. adj. bráðir ‘sudden, hasty’ in the mss could qualify Danir ‘Danes’, a minor emendation is necessary. The warrior-kenning of which bræðir is the base-word presumably refers to Eiríkr jarl, subject of the poem and referent of the second kenning in the helmingr. Hákon jarl is also possible, however, and this would not be incompatible with the Context. — [4] brœðr (dat. sg.) ‘before the brother’: The form brœðr usually denotes nom. or acc. pl., but is commonly found as dat. sg. in skaldic poetry (Finnur Jónsson 1901, 65; LP: bróðir). The nom. pl. brœðr (Sigvarðar) ‘brothers (of Sigurðr)’ could function grammatically in apposition with Danir ‘the Danes’, but not with good sense. On the use of the dat. with falla to mean ‘fall before’, see NN §§1113C, 2463E.  — [4] Sigvarðar ‘of Sigurðr’: Sigurðr Hákonarson, one of Eiríkr’s three half-brothers, who is said to have accompanied him and his father into battle at Hjǫrungavágr (and see Context to Eyv Hál 9).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  6. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. Finnur Jónsson. 1901. Det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog omtr. 800-1300. SUGNL 28. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  9. Fsk 1902-3 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1902-3. Fagrskinna: Nóregs kononga tal. SUGNL 30. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  11. Internal references
  12. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Fagrskinna (Fsk)’ 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, pp. clix-clxi.
  13. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Sverða heiti 8’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 804.
  14. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Fugla heiti 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 952.
  15. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 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. 207.
  16. Not published: do not cite (ÞKolb Lv 11V (BjH 38))
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