Bersi Skáld-Torfuson (Bersi)
11th century; volume 1; ed. Diana Whaley;
1. Flokkr about Óláfr helgi (Ólfl) - 3
2. Lausavísa (Lv) - 1
Bersi Skáld-Torfuson (or simply Torfuson; Bersi) is named from his mother, an otherwise unknown female skald Torfa, from Miðfjörður, Húnavatnsþing, northern Iceland. He is introduced as skáld gótt ‘a fine poet’ in Grettis saga (ÍF 7, 42); his birth would be placed c. 985-90 (LH I, 564). Bersi travelled abroad with Grettir Ásmundarson, gained the favour of Sveinn jarl Hákonarson (ÍF 7, 86) and seemingly fought with Sveinn at the battle of Nesjar (1016; see ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume for rulers and battles of the period). He is listed in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 257, 258, 281, 282) as a skald to Sveinn and to Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great), but no court poetry for them by him survives (though see Bersi Ólfl 2). Some time after Nesjar he was taken captive by Óláfr Haraldsson, composed his flokkr (below) and found favour with the king. He is then named in the excerpts (articuli) from Styrmir Kárason’s Lífssaga among Óláfr’s Icelandic hirðmenn ‘retainers’ (see his Lv below). He went on a pilgrimage to Rome with Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv) and, learning of the king’s death (1030) as he left Rome, returned to S. Peter’s church in extreme anguish, died and was buried there (ÓH 1941, II, 830, in an interpolation).
Diana Whaley 2012, ‘ Bersi Skáld-Torfuson, Lausavísa’ 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. 795. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1117> (accessed 29 June 2022)
Skj: Bersi Skáldtorfuson: 2. Lausavísa, o. 1025 (AI, 277, BI, 256); stanzas (if different): [v]
in texts: Flat, Hkr, ÓH, ÓHHkr, ÓHLeg, ÓHÆ
SkP info: I, 795
||Vol. 1. 39. Bersi Skáld-Torfuson, 2. Lausavísa, 1 [Vol. 1, 796] — Bersi Lv 1I
The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).
Sverð standa þar, sunda
sárs leyfum vér árar,
(herstillis verðr hylli
holl) rauð-búin golli;
við tœka ek (víka,
vask endr með þér, sendir
elds) ef eitt hvert vildir,
allvaldr, gefa skaldi.
|Skj: Bersi Skáldtorfuson: 2. Lausavísa (AI, 277; BI, 256); dróttkvætt; ed. DW; group: A1; mss: 321x, 325V, 61, 68, 73ax, 75c, 761bx, 972x, DG8, Flat, Holm2, Holm4, J2x, Kx, NRA52, Tóm; texts: Flat 553, Flat 966, ÓH 116(112), ÓHHkr 109, ÓHLeg 22, ÓHÆ 7