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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bǫlverkr Arnórsson (Bǫlv)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Drápa about Haraldr harðráði (Hardr) - 8

Skj info: Bǫlverkr Arnórsson, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 385-7, BI, 355-7).

Skj poems:
Drape om Harald hårdråde

Nothing is known about Bǫlverkr except that, according to Fsk (ÍF 29, 245) and Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 275), he was the brother of the skald Þjóðólfr Arnórsson (ÞjóðA). See also Finnur Jónsson in SnE 1848-87, III, 590-1.

Drápa about Haraldr harðráði — Bǫlv HardrII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Bǫlverkr Arnórsson, Drápa about Haraldr harðráði’ 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. 286-93.

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Skj: Bǫlverkr Arnórsson: Drape om Harald hårdråde (AI, 385-7, BI, 355-7)

in texts: Flat, Fsk, H-Hr, Hkr, HSig, MH, Mork, ÓH, Skm, SnE

SkP info: II, 286-93

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


The eight sts of Bǫlverkr’s drápa about Haraldr harðráði (Bǫlv Hardr) are all preserved in H-Hr (H, Hr). Stanzas 1-2 and 7-8 are recorded in Hkr (, 39, F, E, J2ˣ), sts 1-3, 7-8 in Flat (Flat), sts 1, 7-8 in Fsk (FskBˣ (sts 1, 7 only), FskAˣ), sts 7-8 in Mork (Mork) and st. 1 in ÓH (Holm2, 972ˣ, 321ˣ, 73aˣ, Holm4, 325VII (l. 1), 325V, 61, Tóm, Bb). Stanza 8/1-4 is also found in mss R, , A and C of SnE (Skm). Stanzas 1-3 must have been part of Mork, which has a lacuna here. In Mork 1928-32 and Andersson and Gade 2000, the missing text has been supplied from Flat. According to the prose texts, the sts belong to a drápa about Haraldr harðráði: svꜽ segir Bölverkr skáld í drápu þeirri, er hann orti um Harald konúng ‘Bǫlverkr skáld says this in the drápa that he composed about King Haraldr’ (Fms 6, 131; so also ÓH 1941, I, 581). Bǫlverkr is named as the poet of all sts in all versions (except that Fsk attributes st. 1 to ‘Valgarðr af Velli’ (Valg); ÍF 29, 227). The order of the sts is chronological and follows the sequence of events described in the prose texts. Hardr commemorates events that occurred between 1030 (the battle of Stiklestad; st. 1) and 1048 (Haraldr’s campaign to Denmark after the death of Magnús inn góði; st. 8). Throughout the poem, Bǫlverkr addresses Haraldr directly, so this is clearly not a memorial poem but composed during Haraldr’s life-time.
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