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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Blakkr (Blakkr)

12th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

1. Breiðskeggsdrápa (Breiðdr) - 2

Skj info: Blakkr, Islandsk skjald, 12. årh. (AI, 537-8, BI, 518-19).

Skj poems:
1. Breiðskeggsdrápa
2. Lausavísur

Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 255, 264, 278) tells us that Blakkr (called ‘Blakkr skáld’ in Sv, ÍF 30, 176) was one of King Sverrir Sigurðarson’s poets, but none of his poems about Sverrir has survived. He stayed with Sverrir 1187-91. According to Finnur Jónsson (SnE 1848-87, III, 649; Skj) Blakkr was an Icelander, but there is no evidence to support that assumption.

Breiðskeggsdrápa (‘Drápa about Breiðskeggr’) — Blakkr BreiðdrII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Blakkr, Breiðskeggsdrápa’ 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. 647-51.

 1   2 

Skj: Blakkr: 1. Breiðskeggsdrápa, o. 1191 (AI, 537, BI, 518)

SkP info: II, 647-8

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Blakkr Breiðdr 1II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Blakkr, Breiðskeggsdrápa 1’ 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. 647-8.

Bjǫrt kveða brenna kerti
Breiðskeggs yfir leiði;
ljóss veitk at mun missa
meir hǫfðingi þeira.
Vitumat vánir betri
— vér hugðumk því brugðit —
— þollr fekk illt með ǫllu
ǫrþings — af gǫrningum.

Kveða bjǫrt kerti brenna yfir leiði Breiðskeggs; veitk, at hǫfðingi þeira mun meir missa ljóss. Vitumat betri vánir af gǫrningum; vér hugðumk brugðit því; {þollr {ǫrþings}} fekk illt með ǫllu.

They say bright candles are burning above Breiðskeggr’s grave; I know that their chieftain may rather be lacking in light. We [I] do not know that he has better expectations from his undertakings; we [I] thought an end had been put to that; {the tree {of the arrow-assembly}} [BATTLE > WARRIOR] was wretched in all respects.

Mss: 8(13r), 327(59v) (ll. 1-6), Flat(156va) (ll. 1-6), E(105v) (ll. 1-6), 81a(34ra) (ll. 1-6), 325VIII 4 a(1vb) (ll. 1-6) (Sv)

Readings: [3] ljóss: ljós all others    [4] meir hǫfðingi þeira: meiri þǫrf ok þeira 81a    [6] hugðumk: hugðusk E, hugðum 325VIII 4 a;    brugðit: so Flat, brugðumsk 8, 81a, brugðusk 327, E, 325VIII 4 a

Editions: Skj: Blakkr, 1. Breiðskeggsdrápa 1: AI, 537, BI, 518, Skald I, 253; ÍF 30, 176 (ch. 116), Sv 1920, 122, Flat 1860-8, II, 636, E 1916, 364, Sv 1910-86, 152.

Context: Blakkr speaks out against the sanctity of Þorleifr Breiðskeggr.

Notes: [1-2]: These ll. recall st. 20/5, 6 of Einarr Skúlason’s Geisli (GeislVII): Síðan brann ljós yfir líki vísa ‘Then light burned over the body of the prince’. Thus it appears that Blakkr is deliberately ridiculing the ‘sanctity’ of Breiðskeggr by alluding to the miracles connected with the sanctity of S. Óláfr. — [4] meir (adv.) ‘rather’: This adv. can mean ‘rather, later, still’ (see Fritzner: meirr). Skj B translates it as senere ‘later’ and takes it to mean that Breiðskeggr will be deprived of heavenly light in the after-life. That interpretation is possible (referring to the impending Judgement day when Breiðskeggr will miss out on eternal life and go to the place of darkness). Alternatively, since he is already dead, the cl. can also refer to the fact that there is no light at the place he is currently (namely, in hell), and that is the interpretation adopted in the present edn. — [6] vér hugðumk brugðit því ‘we [I] thought an end had been put to that’: I.e. an end to the talk about Breiðskeggr’s sanctity.

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