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)

SkP info: II, 288-9

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — Bǫlv Hardr 2II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Bǫlverkr Arnórsson, Drápa about Haraldr harðráði 2’ 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. 288-9.

Hart kníði svǫl svartan
snekkju brand fyr landi
skúr, en skrautla bôru
skeiðr brynjaðar reiði.
Mætr hilmir sá malma
Miklagarðs fyr barði;
mǫrg skriðu beit at borgar
barmfǫgr hôum armi.

Svǫl skúr kníði svartan brand snekkju hart fyr landi, en brynjaðar skeiðr bôru skrautla reiði. Mætr hilmir sá malma Miklagarðs fyr barði; mǫrg barmfǫgr beit skriðu at hôum armi borgar.

The cool rain-shower drove the black prow of the warship strongly forward along the coast, and the armoured warships proudly bore their tackle. The glorious monarch saw metal-roofed Constantinople before the bow; many rim-fair ships advanced toward the tall rampart of the city.

Mss: (522r), 39(18vb), F(42ra), E(10r), J2ˣ(257v) (Hkr); H(21v), Hr(16rb) (H-Hr); Flat(192va) (Flat)

Readings: [1] kníði: knúði H, Flat, ‘hnvdi’ Hr    [3] skrautla: ‘skavtla’ H, ‘skraula’ Flat    [4] skeiðr: so 39, F, J2ˣ, H, Hr, Flat, skeiður Kˣ, skeiði E    [5] malma: mála Flat    [6] ‑garðs: so 39, F, H, Hr, Flat, ‑garð Kˣ, E, J2ˣ    [7] beit: ‘beítt’ F, breitt E, J2ˣ    [8] barm‑: ‘brann’ Flat

Editions: Skj: Bǫlverkr Arnórsson, Drape om Harald hårdråde 2: AI, 385, BI, 355, Skald I, 178, NN §§806, 1078, 2035; ÍF 28, 71 (HSig ch. 2), F 1871, 193, E 1916, 34; Fms 6, 134 (HSig ch. 3); Flat 1860-8, III, 290, Mork 1928-32, 59, Andersson and Gade 2000, 132, 472 (MH).

Context: Haraldr sailed into Constantinople.

Notes: [2] snekkju ‘of the warship’: See Falk 1912, 102-4, Jesch 2001a, 126-7 and Note to Ív Sig 12/2. — [2] brand ‘prow’: Brandr was a strip of wood running along the side of a ship’s prow (and stern). This strip could be carved or ornamented, sometimes gilded (see Falk 1912, 44-5). — [2] fyr landi ‘along the coast’: Lit. ‘before the land’. Skj B connects this prepositional phrase with the following cl. (‘and the armoured ships proudly bore their tackle along the coast’), thus creating a very awkward w. o. (see NN §806). — [4] brynjaðar skeiðr ‘armoured warships’: For skeiðr, see Jesch 2001a, 123-5 and Note to Valg Har 1/2. It is not quite clear how the adj. brynjaðar ‘armoured’ should be interpreted. Falk (1912, 38) believes that it referred to a ship equipped with protective metal covering, while Jesch (2001a, 157-9) argues that there is no evidence that Viking-Age ships were protected in this manner; rather, such adjectives denote the shields carried along the shield-rim (see also Notes to ÞjóðA Har 5/7, Þfagr Sveinn 4/4 and Steinn Óldr 13/4). — [5-6] malma Miklagarðs ‘metal-roofed Constantinople’: Lit. ‘the metals of Constantinople’. Refers to the iron-covered roofs of the houses in that city (see ÍF 28, 71 n.). Skj B reads mætr hilmir Miklagarðs ‘the glorious king of Constantinople’ and sá malma fyr barði ‘saw the metal fittings on the bow’. That interpretation is tenuous, because the other sts have Haraldr as the protagonist (see NN §2035). Kock (NN §§1078, 2035) translates malma (m. acc. pl.) as ‘beaches’ and posits a meaning ‘sand’ for malmr (cf. Goth. malma ‘sand’). That meaning is not attested in ON (see Fritzner: malmr). — [7, 8] armi borgar ‘rampart of the city’: Lit. ‘arm of the city’. See Anon (HSig) 2/8. — [8] barmfǫgr ‘rim-fair’: Translated in Skj B as brystskinnende ‘bosom-shining’, but barmr ‘bosom’ is not attested in that meaning until after the Reformation (see Jesch 2001a, 141 n. 43; Note to ESk Lv 6/7, 8).

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