This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

login: password: stay logged in: help

Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson (Bjbp)

13th century; volume 1; ed. Jonna Louis-Jensen;

Jómsvíkingadrápa (Jóms) - 45

Bjarni Kolbeinsson (Bjbp) was born into a powerful family in the Orkney Islands, possibly c. 1150-60 (af Petersens, Jvs 1879, 122). His father was the Norwegian-Orcadian chieftain Kolbeinn hrúga ‘Heap’ and his mother was Herborg, a great-granddaughter of Páll jarl Þorfinnsson on the maternal side (see Ættaskrár [Genealogies] II in ÍF 35). Bjarni was also very well connected: he was a close friend of Haraldr jarl Maddaðarson (ÍF 35, 289), sent precious gifts to Hrafn Sveinbjarnarson in Iceland on three occasions (Guðrún P. Helgadóttir 1987, 2-3), and had connections with the Oddaverjar (see further Einar Ól. Sveinsson 1937, 17-18, 34-9).

Bjarni was Bishop of Orkney from 1188 (ÍF 35, 289) until his death on 15 September 1223. Among his achievements as bishop were the exhumation and canonisation of Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson (ÍF 35, 282; SkP II, 575) and the extension of St Magnús’s Cathedral in Kirkwall. Bjarni was also a diplomat and is known to have travelled to Norway for political reasons in 1194-5, 1208-9, 1210, 1218 and 1223 (see Bugge 1875, 244; Holtsmark 1937a, 2-3); he probably died in Norway (Jón Stefánsson 1907-8, 46).

Bjarni is introduced as Bjarni skáld ‘Poet’ in Orkn (ÍF 35, 193), but Jómsvíkingadrápa (Jóms) is the only literary work attributed to him in medieval sources. Suggestions that he compiled Orkn (Jón Stefánsson 1907-8) and the þulur in SnE (Bugge 1875) have not been generally accepted; see Introduction to Jóms below on the attribution of Anon Mhkv to Bjarni.

my abbr.

Jómsvíkingadrápa (‘Drápa about the Jómsvíkingar’) — Bjbp JómsI

Emily Lethbridge 2012, ‘ Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa’ 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. 954. <> (accessed 27 June 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   41   42   43   44   45 

Skj: Bjarni Kolbeinsson: Jómsvíkingadrápa (AII, 1-10, BII, 1-10); stanzas (if different): 2 | 3 | 4

SkP info: I, 960

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — Bjbp Jóms 2I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 2’ 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. 960.

Hendir enn sem aðra
óteitan mik sútar;
mér hefr harm á hendi
handgr kona bundit.
Þó emk óð at auka
œrit gjarn at hváru;
mjǫk emk at mér orðinn
ógæfr of fǫr vífa.

Óteitan sútar hendir mik enn sem aðra; handgr kona hefr bundit harm á hendi mér. Þó emk at hváru œrit gjarn at auka óð; emk orðinn mjǫk ógæfr at mér of fǫr vífa.

The joylessness of grief grips me still, as others; a woman with beautiful hands has bound sorrow to me. Yet I am nonetheless sufficiently eager to increase poetry; I myself have become very unlucky regarding the ways of women.

Mss: R(53r), 65ˣ(380r)

Readings: [4] hand‑: ‘ha[…]’ R, ‘hardl’ 65ˣ, ‘ha[…]’ RCP, hand RFJ;    ‑gr: ‘[…]gvr’ R, ‑fǫgr 65ˣ, RFJ, ‘f[…]vgvr’ RCP    [7] mjǫk: ‘[…]’ R, mjǫk 65ˣ, RCP, RFJ

Editions: Skj: Bjarni Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 3: AII, 1-2, BII, 1, Skald II, 1, NN §1233; Fms 11, 163, Fms 12, 241, Jvs 1879, 104-5.

Notes: [All]: On the ordering of sts 2-5, see Introduction. — [All]: The stanza, like sts 7 and 42, employs the verse-form fjórðungalok ‘couplets’ closure’ in which each pair of lines constitutes a separate clause (cf. SnSt Ht 11III). — [1] hendir ‘grips’: That the same verb, rare in skaldic poetry, also occurs near the beginning of MhkvIII (Anon Mhkv 1/8III), as well as in Mhkv 10/6III, 11/4III, seems unlikely to be coincidental; see Introduction to MhkvIII on links between the poems. — [3] á hendi mér ‘to me’: Lit. ‘to my hand’. — [4] handfǫgr ‘with beautiful hands’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj A) and Carl af Petersens (Jvs 1879) note that hand- has been corrected from harm ‘sorrow’ but this is no longer clear in the ms. The cpd adj. is also found, again qualifying kona ‘woman’, in KormǪ Lv 63/4V (Korm 84). The vocabulary relating to hands in the helmingr (this cpd, and hendir ‘grips’, l. 1, á hendi mér ‘to me’, l. 3) emphasises the woman’s hold on the poet. — [5] at auka óð ‘to increase poetry’: I.e. to add a new poem to the corpus of poetry. — [7]: The line is metrically irregular, since the prep. at, here ‘in’, is too light to occupy a stressed, alliterating position in a Type A-line.

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