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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hofgarða-Refr Gestsson (Refr)

11th century; volume 3; ed. Edith Marold;

1. Ferðavísur (Ferðv) - 5

Skj info: Hofgarða-Refr Gestsson, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 318-321, BI, 295-297).

Skj poems:
1. Digt om fyrstegaver
2. Et digt om Gizurr Gullbrárskáld
3. Af et digt om en Þórsteinn
4. Et rejsedigt
5. Af ubestemmelige digte el. vers

Hardly anything is known about the life of Hofgarða-Refr (Refr). He came from a family long residing in Western Iceland (the farm Hofgarðar lies on the south side of Snæfellsnes). The family seems to have held a goðorð ‘chieftaincy’ in that district, because Refr’s great-grandfather Helgi Hofgarðagoði ‘Priest of Hofgarðar’ is mentioned in Eyrbyggja saga (Eb ch. 16, ÍF 4, 30) as a witness in a legal dispute between Snorri goði ‘the Priest’ Þorgrímsson and Arnketill goði ‘the Priest’ Þórólfsson. His mother was Steinunn Refsdóttir or Dálksdóttir, who is known for the stanzas she composed about the shipwreck of the missionary Þangbrandr (Steinunn LvV). In the stanzas she credits Þórr, whom she considers more powerful than Christ, with the shipwreck. From this one might infer that the family only hesitantly converted to Christianity. Nothing in Refr’s poetry indicates he was a Christian; on the contrary, it is clear that he considers poetry a gift from Óðinn (Refr Giz 2 and 3; see Kuhn 1983, 305; ARG I, 262; Kreutzer 1977, 190). His name, Hofgarða-Refr, indicates that he lived on his family’s farm. He was a foster-son of the skald Gizurr gullbrár ‘Gold-eyelash’ (who may be the same as Gizurr svarti ‘the Black’, Gizsv), who was killed at the battle of Stiklestad (Stiklastaðir; 29 July 1030), and in whose memory he composed several stanzas (on Gizurr, see his Biography in SkP I). In Skáldatal Refr is listed as a skald honouring the kings Óláfr inn helgi (S. Óláfr) Haraldsson (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 274) and his son, Magnús inn góði ‘the Good’ Óláfsson (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 275), as well as the Norwegian magnate Hárekr ór Þjóttu ‘from Tjøtta’ Eyvindarson and his son Einarr fluga ‘Fly’ (SnE 1848-87, III, 269, 285). Refr’s surviving oeuvre consists of the following poems and stanzas: the above mentioned ‘Poem about Gizurr gullbrárskáld’ (Refr Giz, three extant stanzas); three stanzas ‘From a poem about Þorsteinn’ (Refr Þorst, possibly for a son of Snorri goði ‘the Priest’ Þorgrímsson); a poem about a sea-voyage, called Ferðavísur by modern editors (Refr Ferðv, five extant stanzas); five fragments on various subjects (Refr Frag).

Ferðavísur (‘Stanzas about journeys’) — Refr FerðvIII

Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2017, ‘ Hofgarða-Refr Gestsson, Ferðavísur’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 243. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1230> (accessed 22 September 2021)

 1   2   3   4   5 

Skj: Hofgarða-Refr Gestsson: 4. Et rejsedigt, Ferðavísur (AI, 320-1, BI, 296-7)

SkP info: III, 244

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Refr Ferðv 1III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Hofgarða-Refr Gestsson, Ferðavísur 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 244.

Vágþrýsta berr vestan
— vættik lands fyr brandi —
— hvalmœni skefr — húna
hógdýr of lǫg bógu.

 

{The gentle animal of mast-tops} [SHIP] carries its wave-pressed shoulders over the sea from the west; it scrapes {the whale-ridge}; [SEA] I expect land before the prow.

context: This stanza is cited in Skm (SnE) among stanzas exemplifying sea-kennings.

texts: Skm 125, SnE 127

editions: Skj Hofgarða-Refr Gestsson: 4. Et rejsedigt 1 (AI, 320; BI, 296); Skald I, 151; SnE 1848-87, I, 324-5, II, 316, 529, III, 51, SnE 1931, 116, SnE 1998, I, 37.

sources

GKS 2367 4° (R) 26v, 4 - 26v, 6 (SnE)  image  image  image  
Traj 1374x (Tx) 27r, 25 - 27r, 25 (SnE)  image  
AM 242 fol (W) 57, 12 - 57, 13 (SnE)  image  image  image  
DG 11 (U) 29v, 15 - 29v, 16 (SnE)  image  
AM 757 a 4° (B) 5r, 28 - 5r, 29 (SnE)  image  image  image  image  
AM 744 4°x (744x) 31r, 7 - 31r, 10 (SnE)  image  
AM 761 b 4°x (761bx) 277v, 2 - 277v, 5  image  
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