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Bótólfr begla (Bót)

12th century; volume 2; ed. Judith Jesch;

Lausavísa (Lv) - 1

Orkn describes Bótólfr begla (Bót) as íslenzkr maðr ok skáld gott ‘an Icelander and a good poet’ (ÍF  34, 257). The meaning of his nickname is not known but it may be related to a Norw. verb begla ‘hinder, bungle’ (Finnur Jónsson 1907, 298; Lind 1920-1, 17 cites this word as a noun). He is said to have lived at Knarrarstaðir, one of Rǫgnvaldr’s veizla-farms, which were obliged ‘to accommodate, feed and entertain the lord as he travelled round his possessions’ (Thomson 2001, 106; ÍF 34, 175). Bótólfr is not mentioned in Orkn other than in connection with this anecdote.

Lausavísa — Bót LvII

Judith Jesch 2009, ‘ Bótólfr begla, Lausavísa’ 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. 629-30. <> (accessed 8 December 2021)

stanzas:  1 

Skj: Bótolfr begla: Lausavísa, 1154 (AI, 532, BI, 513); stanzas (if different): [v]

SkP info: II, 629-30

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Bót Lv 1II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Bótólfr begla, Lausavísa 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. 629-30.

Ferr at foglum harri
— firar neyta vel skeyta —
— vôn á heiðar hœna
hnakkadytts — und bakka.
Þar verðr almr, es olmir
undlinns stafir finnask
— land verr lofðungr brandi —
lynghœsn, dreginn kyngjum.

Harri ferr at foglum und bakka; firar neyta skeyta vel; {hœna heiðar} á vôn hnakkadytts. Almr verðr kyngjum dreginn þar, es {olmir stafir {undlinns}} [ok] {lynghœsn} finnask; lofðungr verr land brandi.

The lord has gone to hunt birds beneath the slopes; men are using shooting-weapons well; {the chicken of the heath} [GAME BIRD] has expectations of a neck-blow. The bow is being frequently drawn, where {the frenzied poles {of the wound-serpent}} [SWORD > WARRIORS] [and] {the heather-chicken} [GAME BIRD] meet; the prince defends the land with his sword.

Mss: 325I(18r), Flat(142rb) (Orkn)

Readings: [5] verðr: lætr Flat    [7] land: lǫnd Flat    [8] lynghœsn dreginn: lynghæns dregit Flat

Editions: Skj: Bótolfr begla, Lausavísa: AI, 532, BI, 513, Skald I, 251; Flat 1860-8, II, 499, Orkn 1887, 196, Orkn 1913-16, 286-7, ÍF 34, 258 (ch. 94), Bibire 1988, 239.

Context: Erlendr Haraldsson, who has just seen off Haraldr Maddaðarson in a fight nearby, arrives at Knarrarstaðir where Rǫgnvaldr is staying with Bótólfr. When they ask where Rǫgnvaldr is, Bótólfr replies that he had been there the previous night and recites this st. when the troop insist that he must know where Rǫgnvaldr is. They head off to chase him and Rǫgnvaldr escapes.

Notes: [All]: This event takes place in 1154 (ÍF 34, lxxxix). Rǫgnvaldr has made common cause with his fellow jarl Haraldr Maddaðarson, while their rival Jarl Erlendr Haraldsson is supported by Sveinn Ásleifarson. While Erlendr and Sveinn plan an attack on both of the other jarls, Rǫgnvaldr slips away to his own estates during a storm. Erlendr defeats Haraldr the next day and then pursues Rǫgnvaldr. Bótólfr’s st. misleads the pursuers and gives Rǫgnvaldr a chance to escape. — [3, 8] hœna heiðar; lynghœsn ‘the chicken of the heath; the heather-chicken’: The most likely bird for Rǫgnvaldr to be hunting in this area is the Red Grouse (Berry 2000, 160). — [4] und bakka ‘beneath the slopes’: The farm-name Knarrarstaðir, in the form Knarston, was in use until modern times but became incorporated into Lingro farm, whose name means ‘clearing among the heather’ (Marwick 1952, 99). A few miles to the west of Lingro, the land rises to the kind of heathlands which would be appropriate for fowling. — [6] finnask ‘meet’: Both Skj B and Skald emend to finna ‘find’, presumably on the grounds that the refl. form of the verb does not take an acc. object, giving a basic sense of ‘the warriors find the game-bird’. ÍF 34, 258 keeps the reading of both mss and construes the sentence somewhat awkwardly as ‘the warriors find for themselves a game-bird (to hunt)’. Bibire (1988, 239) also keeps the ms. reading but translates ‘where the frenzied staves of the wound-serpent ... meet grouse’. A further possibility is to construe the verb as reciprocal and olmir stafir undlinns and lynghœsn as parallel subjects, giving ‘the warriors [and] the game-bird meet’. This is the solution adopted here, while recognising that none is entirely satisfactory. — [8] kyngjum ‘frequently’: According to LP, this hap. leg. is either the adverbial dat. of a n. pl. noun kyngi (which is not defined) and means i høj grad ‘to a great degree’ or a m. noun kyngr related to a Norw. word meaning ‘clump’, though how the latter would work in this context is not made clear. In ÍF 34, the word is taken as an adverbial form from the dat. pl. of a f. noun kyngja ‘a great quantity’, and thus to mean ‘frequently’. A f. noun kyngi or kyngja with this meaning is recorded in ModIcel. (Sigfús Blöndal 1920-4, 427; ÍO: kyngi), but the adverbial form is not. ÍO suggests a meaning með rykkjum ‘with tugs, jerks’ for the OIcel. adverbial form and this could be appropriate here. But in the absence of other instances of this word, the translation proposed in ÍF 34 is the most likely and is adopted here.

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