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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyv Hák 21I

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 21’ 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. 193.

Eyvindr skáldaspillir FinnssonHákonarmál

Deyr fé,         deyja frændr,
        eyðisk land ok láð,
síz Hôkun fór         með heiðin goð;
        mǫrg es þjóð of þéuð.

Fé deyr, frændr deyja, land ok láð eyðisk, síz Hôkun fór með heiðin goð; mǫrg þjóð es of þéuð.

Livestock are dying, kinsfolk are dying, land and realm become deserted, since Hákon went with the heathen gods; many a nation is enslaved.

Mss: (107r), F(18vb), J1ˣ(64r), J2ˣ(61v) (Hkr); FskBˣ(12v), 51ˣ(11r), 302ˣ(17v) (Fsk); 761bˣ(102v)

Readings: [4] síz: ‘siti’ F, síðan FskBˣ, 51ˣ, 302ˣ;    fór: so J1ˣ, J2ˣ, FskBˣ, 51ˣ, 302ˣ, om. Kˣ, F, 761bˣ    [5] með: om. FskBˣ, 51ˣ, 302ˣ;    heiðin: ‘heþin’ J1ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 68, Skj BI, 60, Skald I, 37; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 221, IV, 61, ÍF 26, 197, Hkr 1991, I, 129 (HákGóð ch. 31/32), F 1871, 84; Fsk 1902-3, 48 (ch. 12), ÍF 29, 94 (ch. 13); Möbius 1860, 234, Jón Helgason 1968, 28, Krause 1990, 135-7.

Context: In Hkr, as for st. 1. In Fsk, as for st. 19.

Notes: [All]: On the desolation of the land after Hákon’s death, see also Eyv Lv 12-14. The images of desolation in this stanza have been seen by Larsen (1943-6, II, 316) as an expression of sacral kingship, or pagan belief in the magical connexion between the king’s person and the fruitfulness of the land. — [1-2]: Cf. Hávm 76-7. De Vries (1964-7, I, 145 n. 83) asserts that this borrowing from Hávm is too direct, and the final stanza must therefore be a later poet’s addition. Holm-Olsen (1953, 159) and Marold (1972, 24) argue that Eyvindr’s audience would have known what follows in Hávm: the assertion that fame never dies. Eyvindr thus manages both to praise Hákon and to conclude on a note of desolation with an artful contrast. Marold (1972) and Clunies Ross (2005a, 51) detect an ambivalent attitude towards heathenism in the unremitting gloom produced by the contrast of the remainder of the stanza with the corresponding lines in Hávm. — [3] land ok láð eyðisk ‘land and realm become deserted’: The combination of sg. verb eyðisk ‘become deserted’ with a coordinate subject is unproblematic (cf. Note to Anon Eirm 2/1-2), especially given that land ok láð ‘land and realm’ is a set phrase (Fritzner: láð). — [4] síz ‘since’: The syntax of the stanza hinges on this conj. and can be construed in two main ways. (a) In the present edn, as in Skald, the subordinate clause introduced by síz (ll. 4-5) depends on the preceding clauses (ll. 1-3) rather than the following clause (l. 6), and l. 6 is a freestanding main clause. This is suggested by the word order of l. 6, which would be es mǫrg þjóð þéuð, lit. ‘is many nation enslaved’, with finite verb first, if preceded by a subordinate clause. (b) Most eds take ll. 1-3 and 4-6 as syntactically separate, with the síz-clause dependent on the main clause in l. 6. This reverses the normal order of main clause and subordinate clause, but occasional exceptions are found in both dróttkvætt and fornyrðislag (see Kuhn 1929b, 200; 1969). The parallels in Hávm 76-7, which have the main syntactic break between ll. 3 and 4, would seem to favour this analysis, but the syntactic point in (a) above is weighty. — [4] fór ‘went’: The word is here assumed (as by Boyer 1990a, 201) to belong to l. 4, producing regular Type B-lines as ll. 4, 5. Several eds place it in l. 5, and this may be possible if the verb is unstressed and the odd line hypometric, both of which are possible in ljóðaháttr (see Note to st. 1/2 and Gade 2002a, 862). — [5] með heiðin goð ‘with the heathen gods’: The reference to ‘heathen gods’ in a poem that purports to be heathen in perspective has been found incongruous (Wimmer 1877, 162; Holthausen 1896, 124), though Marold (1993a, 175) regards the phrase as simply one of ‘the collective terms characteristic of the late-pagan religion of the environment of the earls of Hlaðir’. The acc. case in this construction has also been the subject of debate, presumably since með ‘with’ + acc. is most often used of taking someone or something with one, while með + dat. suggests willing accompaniment (e.g. Fritzner: með 4, 5), but there is some flexibility of usage, and acc. may simply lend prominence to Hákon here. Cf. st. 10/5 með her mikinn (acc. sg.) ‘with a great army’. Clunies Ross (2005a, 51) takes fór með to mean ‘travelled among’, and for a further possibility see Hkr 1991.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. Boyer, Régis. 1990a. La poésie scaldique. Paris: Editions du Porte-Glaive.
  4. Vries, Jan de. 1964-7. Altnordische Literaturgeschichte. 2 vols. 2nd edn. Grundriss der germanischen Philologie 15-16. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  5. 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.
  6. Gade, Kari Ellen. 2002a. ‘History of Old Nordic Metrics’. In Bandle et al. 2002, I, 865-70.
  7. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  8. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  9. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  10. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  11. Clunies Ross, Margaret. 2005a. A History of Old Norse Poetry and Poetics. Cambridge: Brewer.
  12. Fsk 1902-3 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1902-3. Fagrskinna: Nóregs kononga tal. SUGNL 30. Copenhagen: Møller.
  13. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  14. Kuhn, Hans (1899). 1929b. Review of Konstantin Reichardt. 1928. Studien zu den Skalden des 9. und 10. Jahrhunderts. Leipzig: Mayer & Müller. GGA, 193-202. Rpt. in Kuhn (1899) 1969-78, I, 421-9
  15. Möbius, Theodor. 1860. Edda Sæmundar hins fróða. Mit einem Anhang bisher ungedruckter Gedichte. Leipzig: Hinrichs.
  16. Holthausen, Ferdinand. 1896. Altisländisches Lesebuch. Weimar: Emil Felber.
  17. Marold, Edith. 1972. ‘Das Walhallbild in den Eiríksmál und den Hákonarmál’. MS 5, 19-33.
  18. Holm-Olsen, Ludvig. 1953. ‘Øyvind Skaldaspiller’. Edda 53, 145-65.
  19. Jón Helgason, ed. 1968. Skjaldevers. 3rd edn. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  20. Krause, Arnulf, ed. 1990. Die Dichtung des Eyvindr skáldaspillir: Edition-Kommentar-Untersuchungen. Altnordische Bibliothek 10. Leverkusen: Literaturverlag Norden Mark Reinhardt.
  21. Marold, Edith. 1993a. ‘Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir’. In MedS, 175-6.
  22. Larsen, Martin, trans. 1943-6. Den ældre edda og eddica minora. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  23. Wimmer, Ludvig F. A. 1877. Oldnordisk læsebog med anmærkninger og ordsamling. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Chr. Steen.
  24. Internal references
  25. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  26. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Eiríksmál 2’ 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. 1007.
  27. 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.
  28. Not published: do not cite (HákGóðII)
  29. Not published: do not cite ()
  30. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur 12’ 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. 231.

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