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Bjarni ...ason (Bjarni)

12th century; volume 3; ed. Edith Marold;

Fragments (Frag) - 5

Nothing is known about the life of the skald Bjarni …ason (Bjarni) who is credited in SnE and LaufE with four helmingar and one couplet. His patronymic is either not given or is rendered variously as ‘.a.son’ in SnE (W(169)), or ‘A: s(on)’ (LaufE 1979, 354) or ‘A. sk.’ (743ˣ(88v)), the latter of which could be interpreted as Bjarni A(patronymic) skáld (SnE 1848-87, II, 631). Bjarni ‘ason’ could be identical with a Bjarni skáld who composed poetry in honour of the Norwegian king Óláfr Tryggvason (d. 1000) according to Skáldatal A (SnE 1848-87, III, 253) and the Bjarni who is referred to in Hst Rst 34/8I along with Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ‘Troublesome-poet’ Óttarsson (Hfr). Conceivably, he could also be the same Bjarni who flung a horn in the face of Hákon jarl (HaukrV Ísldr 16IV). But he is not identical with Bjarni gullbrárskáld ‘Gold-eyelash Poet’ Hallbjarnarson (BjHall), who is also named as a skald of Óláfr Tryggvason in Skáldatal B (SnE 1848-87, III, 261, 274), because that skald is known to have composed poetry for the Norwegian magnate Kálfr Árnason, staying with him during the winter of 1050/51. Hence the lifetime of Bjarni gullbrárskáld cannot be congruent with that of the Bjarni of Skáldatal A (SnE 1848-87, III, 495-8; LH I, 544).

Fragments — Bjarni FragIII

Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2017, ‘ Bjarni ...ason, Fragments’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 20. <> (accessed 24 May 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5 

Skj: Bjarni ason (el. a sk).: Brudstykker af digte (AI, 542, BI, 523); stanzas (if different): 4

SkP info: III, 23

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Bjarni Frag 3III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Bjarni ...ason, Fragments 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 23.

This couplet (Bjarni Frag 3), recorded in LaufE (papp10ˣ (main ms.), 2368ˣ and 743ˣ), must belong to a stanza describing a ruler’s sea-voyage. It is also found in RE 1665(Gg), which has not been used in this edition.

Holmneglða braut hilmir
hauðrgjǫrð fyrir bǫrðum.

Hilmir braut {holmneglða hauðrgjǫrð} fyrir bǫrðum.

The ruler clove {the island-studded land-girdle} [SEA] before the prows.

Mss: papp10ˣ(44v), 2368ˣ(101), 743ˣ(78v) (LaufE)

Editions: Skj: Bjarni ason (el. a sk)., Brudstykker af digte 3: AI, 542, BI, 523, Skald I, 255, NN §2090; SnE 1848-87, III, 498, LaufE 1979, 281, 359.

Context: Bjarni’s stanza is cited after some examples of earth-kennings. The prose text calls attention to holmneglðr ‘island-studded’ (see Note to l. 1), presumably to demonstrate that the earth can protrude from the sea, a claim made in a preceding (incorrect) interpretation of another stanza (Eyv Lv 9/5-8I).

Notes: [1] holmneglða ‘island-studded’: The second element of this cpd, ‑neglða ‘-studded’, is an extension of the metaphor from the base-word of the sea-kenning ‘girdle of the land’. The ‘studs’ here probably refer to belt plates. — [1] braut ‘clove’: The verb extends the metaphor expressed by the base-word of the sea-kenning (‘girdle’). Cf. ESk Frag 13, which employs the same metaphor: Sverrigjǫrð svalra landa springr sundr fyr bǫrðum ‘The swirling girdle of cool lands [SEA] splits asunder before the bows’. — [2] fyrir bǫrðum ‘before the prows’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B and LP: fyribarð) emends to fyribǫrðum ‘with prows of fir-wood’ here. The mss speak against this, however, as does the parallel in ESk Frag 13 (as pointed out by Kock, NN §2090). One of Kock’s arguments is that the form fyrir became common in the C12th, gradually replacing fyr, the older form of the prep. (LP: fyr, fyrir).

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated