Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bjarni gullbrárskáld Hallbjarnarson (BjHall)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Alison Finlay;

Kálfsflokkr (Kálffl) - 8

Skj info: Bjarni Hallbjarnarson gullbrárskáld, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 393-396, BI, 363-365).

Skj poems:

Bjarni gullbrárskáld Hallbjarnarson (BjHall) is mentioned only in the passages in the kings’ sagas in which stanzas from Kálfsflokkr, his sole surviving poem, are cited. He is generally identified, however, with the Icelander Bjarni Hallbjarnarson named in Þorgríms þáttr Hallasonar, which is preserved in Hulda-Hrokkinskinna (H-Hr; Fms 6, 32; ÍF 9, 298-303). He is there said to be the son of Hallbjǫrn skefill ‘Scraper’ of Laxárdalur in Skagafjörður, northern Iceland, and to have a brother called Þórðr, neither of whom is known elsewhere. The þáttr represents Bjarni, early in the reign of King Magnús Óláfsson (1035-47), presenting a poem to Kálfr Árnason, which includes praise of his deeds at the battle of Stiklastaðir (Stiklestad, 1030), and being killed immediately by Þorgrímr Hallason, a follower of King Óláfr; see further Biography of Kolgrímr litli ‘the Small’ (KolgrII), and Kolg ÓlII. This cannot be true according to the evidence of the stanzas printed below, however, since those representing Kálfr’s loss of the friendship of King Magnús and his campaigning in Orkney must have been composed as late as the mid 1040s. It seems most likely that the author of the þáttr knew of a poem by Bjarni in honour of Kálfr, but was not familiar with its content.

In the U redaction of Skáldatal ‘biarni gvllbraskalld’ is listed as a poet of Kálfr Árnason, and also included among the poets of Óláfr Tryggvason (r. c. 995-c. 1000), which must be a mistake: in the 761aˣ redaction this poet is simply named Bjarni skáld (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 269).

Bjarni’s nickname (recorded both with and without inflectional ‑(a)r-; see Lind 1920-1, 123) suggests that Bjarni was identified as the poet of someone, presumably a woman, nicknamed gullbrá ‘Gold-eyelash’. The same nickname gullbrá or gullbráskáld is also associated with the elusive Gizurr svarti (Gizsv; see his Biography in this volume).

my abbr.

Kálfsflokkr (‘Flokkr about Kálfr’) — BjHall KálfflI

Alison Finlay 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Bjarni gullbrárskáld Hallbjarnarson, Kálfsflokkr’ 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. 877.

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Skj: Bjarni Hallbjarnarson gullbrárskáld: Kalfsflokkr, o. 1050 (AI, 393-6, BI, 363-5)

SkP info: I, 882

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — BjHall Kálffl 3I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni gullbrárskáld Hallbjarnarson, Kálfsflokkr 3’ 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. 882.

Austr réð allvaldr rísta
ótála haf stáli;
varð at vitja Garða
vígmóðr Haralds bróðir.
Enn of íðnir manna
emkak tamr at samna
skrǫkvi; at skilnað ykkarn
skjótt lézt Knút of sóttan.

Allvaldr réð ótála rísta haf austr stáli; {vígmóðr bróðir Haralds} varð at vitja Garða. Enn emkak tamr at samna skrǫkvi of íðnir manna; at skilnað ykkarn lézt skjótt Knút of sóttan.

The mighty ruler undoubtedly set about carving the ocean eastwards with the prow; {the battle-weary brother of Haraldr} [= Óláfr] had to make his way to Russia. But I am not ready to gather false stories about people’s actions; after your parting you quickly went to seek out Knútr.

texts: Flat 579, Fsk 160 [5-8], ÓH 142 (138), ÓHHkr 135 (II 135), Hkr 336 (II 135)

editions: Skj Bjarni Hallbjarnarson gullbrárskáld: Kalfsflokkr 3 (AI, 394; BI, 363); Skald I, 182Fms 5, 31Fms 12, 97ÓH 1941, I, 507 (ch. 179), Flat 1860-8, II, 318; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 426, IV, 161, ÍF 27, 334, Hkr 1991, II, 496 (ÓHHkr ch. 183); Fsk 1902-3, 180 (ch. 28), ÍF 29, 198-9 (ch. 34).


Holm perg 2 4° (Holm2) 60r, 37 - 60r, 39 (ÓH)  transcr.  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 212v, 30 - 213r, 4 (ÓH)  image  
AM 321 4°x (321x) 228, 9 - 228, 12 (ÓH)  image  
AM 73 a folx (73ax) 184v, 27 - 184v, 34 (ÓH)  image  
AM 68 fol (68) 59v, 26 - 59v, 28 (ÓH)  image  
AM 61 fol (61) 118va, 40 - 118vb, 4 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 325 V 4° (325V) 72rb, 12 - 72rb, 17 (ÓH)  image  
AM 325 VII 4° (325VII) 33v, 43 - 33v, 45 (ÓH)  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb) 191vb, 19 - 191vb, 23 (ÓH)  image  
GKS 1005 fol (Flat) 120ra, 55 - 120ra, 57 (ÓH)  image  image  image  
GKS 1008 fol (Tóm) 148v, 24 - 148v, 26 (ÓH)  image  
AM 36 folx (Kx) 441r, 25 - 441v, 2 (Hkr)  image  
AM 303 4°x (FskAx) 188, 8 - 188, 11 (Fsk)  image  
AM 301 4°x (301x) 68v, 22 - 69r, 3 (Fsk)  
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