Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Lv 3II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Lausavísur 3’ 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. 570-1.

Einarr SkúlasonLausavísur

Ekki hlaut af ítrum
Einarr gjafa Sveini
— ǫld lofar ǫðlings mildi
æðrustyggs — fyr kvæði.
Danskr harri metr dýrra
— dugir miðlung þat — fiðlur
— ræðr fyr ræsis auði
Rípa-Ulfr — ok pípur.

Einarr hlaut ekki gjafa af ítrum Sveini fyr kvæði; ǫld lofar mildi æðrustyggs ǫðlings. Danskr harri metr fiðlur ok pípur dýrra; þat dugir miðlung; Rípa-Ulfr ræðr fyr auði ræsis.

Einarr received no gift from precious Sveinn for the poem; people praise the generosity of the fright-shy prince. The Danish lord values fiddles and flutes more highly; that is not good enough; Rípa-Úlfr (‘Úlfr of Ribe’) controls the ruler’s wealth.

Mss: (212), 18ˣ(17r), 873ˣ(68r), 1006ˣ(873-874), 1005ˣ(62r) (Knýtl)

Readings: [2] gjafa: gjafir af 1006ˣ, 1005ˣ    [4] styggs: styrks 1006ˣ, 1005ˣ    [6] dugir: ‘dugvr’ 1006ˣ, ‘dugar’ 1005ˣ;    miðlung: ‘midlaun’ 1006ˣ, 1005ˣ    [8] Rípa‑Ulfr: ‘rypur Vlfur’ 1005ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 483, Skj BI, 455, Skald I, 224; ÍF 35, 275 (ch. 108), 1741, 212-13.

Context: Einarr travels to Denmark (c. 1153) and recites a poem in praise of the Dan. king Sveinn svíðandi ‘the Singeing’ Eiríksson, from whom he receives no reward.

Notes: [All]: The st. is preserved in Knýtl and JÓ is the main ms. — [1, 2] af ítrum Sveini ‘from precious Sveinn’: Sveinn svíðandi Eiríksson (r. 1147-57) was the illegitimate son of Eiríkr eymuni ‘the Long-remembered’ Eiríksson (d. 1137). — [6, 8] fiðlur ok pípur ‘fiddles and flutes’: Fiðla ‘fiddle’ was a stringed instrument played with a bow, most likely a vielle with a flat back. Pípa ‘flute’ was a short, cylindrical flute with seven holes, a smaller version of the modern recorder. It appears to have been played with the left hand while the minstrel was simultaneously beating a drum with his right hand (see Panum 1934, 57, 66-7). For minstrels in ON society, see Note to ESk Lv 5 [All]. — [8] Rípa-Ulfr ‘(“Úlfr of Ribe”)’: One of King Sveinn’s counsellors. He fell in the battle of Grathe Hede (Graðarheiðr) near Viborg in Jylland (Jutland), Denmark, on 23 October 1157, along with King Sveinn (so ÍF 35, 293). According to Saxo (2005, II, 14, 19, 16, pp. 240-1), he was captured and executed after that battle. Ribe is a town in Jylland.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. ÍF 35 = Danakonunga sǫgur. Ed. Bjarni Guðnason. 1982.
  4. 1741 = Jón Ólafsson, ed. 1741. Æfi dana-konunga eda Knytlinga saga: Historia Cnutidarum regum Daniæ. Copenhagen: [n. p.].
  5. Panum, Hortense. 1934. ‘Middelalderens musikinstrumenter’. In Andersson 1934, 50-69.
  6. Internal references
  7. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Lausavísur 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, pp. 572-3.

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