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Bersi Skáld-Torfuson (Bersi)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Diana Whaley;

1. Flokkr about Óláfr helgi (Ólfl) - 3

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).

Flokkr about Óláfr helgi — Bersi ÓlflI

Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Bersi Skáld-Torfuson, Flokkr about Óláfr helgi’ 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. 790.

stanzas:  1   2   3 

Skj: Bersi Skáldtorfuson: 1. En flok om kong Olaf, o. 1020 (AI, 275-6, BI, 255)

SkP info: I, 794

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Bersi Ólfl 3I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Bersi Skáld-Torfuson, Flokkr about Óláfr helgi 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. 794.

Krýpk eigi svá, sveigir
sára linns — í ári
búum ólítinn Áta
ǫndur þér til handa —,
at, herstefnir, hafnak,
heiðmildr, eða þá leiðumk,
— ungr kunnak þar þrøngvi
þínn — hollvini mína.

{Sveigir {linns sára}}, krýpk eigi svá — í ári búum {ólítinn ǫndur Áta} til handa þér —, {heiðmildr herstefnir}, at hafnak, eða þá leiðumk, hollvini mína; ungr kunnak þrøngvi þínn þar.

{Swinger {of the snake of wounds}} [SWORD > WARRIOR], I do not crawl in such a way — early on we are [I am] readying {a not small ski of Áti <sea-king>} [SHIP] for you —, {reward-generous army commander} [RULER], that I forsake, or else then tire of, my loyal friends; [when] young, I got to know your enemy there.

texts: Flat 461, ÓH 53 (51), ÓHHkr 48 (II 48), Hkr 249 (II 48)

editions: Skj Bersi Skáldtorfuson: 1. En flok om kong Olaf 3 (AI, 276; BI, 255); Skald I, 131, NN §§620, 3222; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 74, IV, 124, ÍF 27, 66-7, Hkr 1991, I, 295 (ÓHHkr ch. 50); Fms 4, 102, Fms 12, 80, ÓH 1941, I, 96 (ch. 40), Flat 1860-8, II, 45.

sources

AM 36 folx (Kx) 253r, 24 - 253v, 2 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  
Holm perg 2 4° (Holm2) 13r, 10 - 13r, 12 (ÓH)  transcr.  image  
UppsUB R 686x (R686x) 26r, 11 - 26r, 14 (ÓH)  image  image  
Thott 972 folx (972x) 88va, 21 - 88va, 28 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 37 folx (J1x) 159v, 22 - 160r, 2 (ÓH)  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 136r, 3 - 136r, 10 (ÓH)  image  
AM 325 VI 4° (325VI) 11rb, 29 - 11rb, 33 (ÓH)  image  
AM 75 a fol (75a) 1vb, 2 - 1vb, 8 (ÓH)  image  
AM 321 4°x (321x) 54, 27 - 55, 2 (ÓH)  transcr.  
AM 68 fol (68) 12r, 19 - 12r, 19 (ÓH)  image  
AM 61 fol (61) 84vb, 36 - 84vb, 38 (ÓH)  transcr.  image  image  
Holm perg 4 4° (Holm4) 5ra, 22 - 5ra, 25 (ÓH)  image  
AM 325 V 4° (325V) 16va, 27 - 16va, 32 (ÓH)  image  
AM 325 VII 4° (325VII) 5r, 39 - 5r, 40 (ÓH)  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb) 135va, 7 - 135va, 7 (ÓH)  image  
GKS 1005 fol (Flat) 83vb, 23 - 83vb, 26 (ÓH)  image  image  image  
GKS 1008 fol (Tóm) 102v, 10 - 102v, 10 (ÓH)  image  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated