Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

login: password: stay logged in: help

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:
Kalfsflokkr

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).

notes
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.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8 

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

in texts: Flat, Fsk, Hkr, MGóð, Orkn, ÓH, ÓHHkr

SkP info: I, 877

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Vast, þars vígs bað kosta
vápndjarfr Haralds arfi,
— kynnisk kapp þitt mǫnnum —
Kalfr, við Bókn austr sjalfa.
Gôtuð Gríðar sóta
gólig fǫng til jóla;
kenndr vast fyrstr at fundi
flettugrjóts ok spjóta.
Kálfr, you were east off Bokn itself, where the weapon-bold heir of Haraldr [= Óláfr] commanded battle to be waged; your bravery becomes known to men. You provided the steed of Gríðr <giantess> [WOLF] with splendid provisions for Christmas; you were seen to be first at the meeting of split stone and of spears [BATTLE].
2 Ǫld fekk illt ór deildum;
Erlingr vas þar finginn;
óðu blǫkk í blóði
borð fyr Útstein norðan.
Ljós es raun, at ræsir
ráðinn varð frá láði;
lǫgðusk lǫnd und Egða;
lið þeira frák meira.
Men came off badly from the exchanges; Erlingr was captured there; black planks advanced through blood north of Utstein. The outcome is clear, that the ruler was deprived of his country; lands became subject to the Egðir; I heard that their host was larger.
3 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.
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.
4 Áttu Engla dróttni,
ógnrakkr, gjafar þakka,
jarls niðr; komtu yðru
ótála vel máli.
Þér lét fold, áðr fœrir
— frest urðu þess — vestan,
— líf þitt esa lítit —
Lundúna gramr fundna.
You have the lord of the English [= Knútr] to thank for gifts, battle-bold descendant of a jarl [= Kálfr]; you undoubtedly advanced your case well. The lord of London [= Knútr] said that land was found for you before you travelled from the west; there was delay in this; your life is not insignificant.
5 Jǫrð rétt vígi at varða
vígreifr fyr Ôleifi;
brauzt við bragning nýztan
bág; þat kveðk mik frôgu.
Fyrr gekkt á stað Stiklar
stór verk, en óð merki;
satts, at sókn of veittir
snjallr, unz gramr vas fallinn.
War-cheerful, you set about defending the land with war against Óláfr; you raised hostility against the most excellent king; I declare that I heard that. Before, you achieved great deeds at Stiklestad, and the standard surged; it is true that you kept up the attack, brave, until the king had fallen.
6 Hafa lézt unga jǫfra
erfð, sem til réð hverfa;
satts, at sitja knátti
Sveinn at Danmǫrk einni.
Kennduð, Kalfr, til landa
kappfúsum Magnúsi
— olluð ér, þvís stillir
jǫrð of fekk — ór Gǫrðum.
You allowed the young prince [Magnús Óláfsson] to have the inheritance that came his way; it is true that Sveinn was able to rule only in Denmark. Kálfr, you conducted the spirited Magnús to his lands from Russia; you brought it about that the ruler gained the country.
7 Þér frák, Þorbergs hlýri,
— þess gerðusk ér verðir —
— helt, unz hann of spillti —
Haralds bróðurson góðan.
Vǫkðu ǫfundmenn ykkar
iðula róg á miðli
(óþǫrf lízk mér) arfa
Ôleifs (í þeim môlum).
I have heard that the son of Haraldr’s brother [= Magnús] was good to you, brother of Þorbergr [= Kálfr]; you made yourself worthy of that; that lasted until he damaged [it]. Envious men constantly stirred up strife between you and Óláfr’s heir [= Magnús]; that seems to me an unnecessary thing in those matters.
8 Frôgum, Finns hvé mági
fylgðuð, Kalfr, of dylgjur,
ok lézt á sæ snekkjur
snarla lagt at jarli.
Áræði vannt eyða
óðfúss sonar Brúsa
— hléði hugr — en téðuð
heiptminnigr Þórfinni.
We [I] have heard, Kálfr, how you followed the son-in-law of Finnr [= Þorfinnr Sigurðarson] into battle, and quickly had warships steered against the jarl [Rǫgnvaldr Brúsason] at sea. You succeeded in destroying the attack of the ragingly eager son of Brúsi [= Rǫgnvaldr] and, intent on hostility, you supported Þorfinnr; your courage protected [you].
© Skaldic Project Academic Body, unless otherwise noted. Database structure and interface developed by Tarrin Wills. All users of material on this database are reminded that its content may be either subject to copyright restrictions or is the property of the custodians of linked databases that have given permission for members of the skaldic project to use their material for research purposes. Those users who have been given access to as yet unpublished material are further reminded that they may not use, publish or otherwise manipulate such material except with the express permission of the individual editor of the material in question and the General Editor of the volume in which the material is to be published. Applications for permission to use such material should be made in the first instance to the General Editor of the volume in question. All information that appears in the published volumes has been thoroughly reviewed. If you believe some information here is incorrect please contact Tarrin Wills with full details.