Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Jǫkull Bárðarson (Jǫk)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Diana Whaley;

Lausavísur (Lv) - 2

Skj info: Jǫkull Bárðarson, Islænder, d.1030. (AI, 314, BI, 291).

Skj poems:
Lausavísur

According to Snorri Sturluson (ÓH 1941, I, 503; ÍF 27, 331), Jǫkull (Jǫk) was the son of Bárðr Jǫkulsson of Vatnsdalur, northern Iceland; he is described as a big, powerful man and a great traveller. He was uncle of the saga hero Grettir Ásmundarson and tried unsuccessfully to dissuade him from tackling the revenant Glámr (ÍF 7, 117). Jǫkull became a follower of Hákon jarl Eiríksson (on whom, see ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume), and this allegiance led, in the late 1020s, to both his triumph and his downfall, as commemorated in the two lausavísur attributed to him.

Lausavísur — Jǫk LvI

Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Jǫkull Bárðarson, Lausavísur’ 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. 813.

 1   2 

Skj: Jǫkull Bárðarson: Lausavísur (AI, 314, BI, 291)

SkP info: I, 813

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Jǫk Lv 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Jǫkull Bárðarson, Lausavísur 1’ 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. 813.

Hlautk frá Sult, en sæta
síð fregn, at ek kvíða,
— vôn erumk hreggs at hreini
hlýrvangs — skipi stýra,
þvís, ýstéttar, átti
Ôleifr, funa kleifar,
— gramr vas sjalfr á sumri
sigri ræntr — inn digri.

Hlautk stýra skipi frá Sult, en sæta fregn síð, at ek kvíða — erumk vôn hreggs at {hreini {hlýrvangs}} —, þvís Ôleifr inn digri átti, {kleifar {funa {ýstéttar}}}; gramr sjalfr vas ræntr sigri á sumri.

I drew the lot to steer the ship from Sylte, and the lady will hardly hear that I’m daunted — I have a prospect of a storm hitting {the reindeer {of the prow-plain}} [SEA > SHIP] —, the one [ship] that Óláfr inn digri (‘the Stout’) owned, {slopes {of the flame {of the yew-bow’spath}}} [ARM/HAND > GOLD > WOMEN]; the king himself was robbed of victory in summer.

Mss: (440r) (Hkr); Holm2(60r), 972ˣ(447va), J2ˣ(212r), 321ˣ(226), 73aˣ(183v-184r), 68(59r-v), 61(118rb), 325V(71vb), 325VII(33v), Bb(191rb), Flat(120ra), Tóm(148r) (ÓH); FskBˣ(50r), FskAˣ(186) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] Hlautk (‘Hlꜹt ec’): hlaut er FskBˣ;    frá: fyr 972ˣ, J2ˣ, Bb, ór 321ˣ, 73aˣ, FskBˣ, FskAˣ;    Sult: Slygs 321ˣ, FskBˣ, FskAˣ;    sæta: særa 321ˣ, sóta 61    [2] síð: ‘sidr’ 321ˣ;    fregn: spyrr J2ˣ;    ek kvíða: vér kvíðum 972ˣ, J2ˣ, vér kvíðim 73aˣ    [3] vôn: sár 325V;    erumk: ‘eraz’ 73aˣ, er um 61, FskAˣ, erum 325V, Bb, Tóm, FskBˣ, eru Flat;    hreggs: hress 321ˣ;    at: á 321ˣ, 73aˣ, FskBˣ;    hreini: hreinni Tóm, FskBˣ    [4] hlýr‑: hlýrs Holm2, 972ˣ, J2ˣ, 321ˣ, 73aˣ, hlý 325VII;    ‑vangs: því Holm2, 972ˣ, J2ˣ, 321ˣ, visundi 73aˣ, ‑vágs 61, FskBˣ, ‑vægs FskAˣ;    skipi: at 73aˣ;    stýra: at stýra 325V    [5] þvís (‘þvi er’): er Holm2, 972ˣ, J2ˣ, 321ˣ, 73aˣ, því at Bb, FskAˣ;    ýstéttar: útstéttar 321ˣ, ‘ostrættis’ or ‘ostræitis’ 61, óstéttar 325V, FskAˣ, eystrætis 325VII, óstrætis Bb, Flat, Tóm    [6] Ôleifr: ‘aleift’ 321ˣ;    funa: vala 61, Haka 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm    [7] sjalfr: snjallr Holm2, 972ˣ, 321ˣ;    sumri: sunni 73aˣ

Editions: Skj: Jǫkull Bárðarson, Lausavísur 1: AI, 314, BI, 291, Skald I, 148, NN §§780, 1021, 1855; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 423, IV, 160, ÍF 27, 331, Hkr 1991, II, 494 (ÓHHkr ch. 182); Fms 5, 29, Fms 12, 97, ÓH 1941, I, 504 (ch. 178), Flat 1860-8, II, 317; Fsk 1902-3, 178 (ch. 28), ÍF 29, 197 (ch. 33).

Context: Hákon jarl Eiríksson brings a force to Valldalr (Valldal) and seizes ships belonging to Óláfr Haraldsson. His follower Jǫkull Bárðarson gets to command the king’s ship Skeggi ‘Man’ (?) (according to Fsk), or his flagship Visundr ‘Bison’ (according to ÓH-Hkr), and exults over this in his stanza.

Notes: [1] hlautk ‘I drew the lot’: The full sense of hljóta, ‘obtain by lot’ (hence ‘get, have to’), is emphasised by Fsk which depicts Hákon’s men literally casting lots. — [1] Sult ‘Sylte’: A river flowing into Tafjorden/Norddalsfjorden, Møre og Romsdal. The variant Slygs in Fsk and 321 denotes another river running into the same fjord (Finlay 2004, 157 n. 455). — [1] sæta ‘the lady’: An unidentified, and probably merely conventional, reference (cf. Frank 1990a).  — [2] síð ‘hardly’: Lit. ‘late’: It will be late, i.e. by litotes never, when the lady hears that the speaker is daunted. — [3] hreggs ‘of a storm’: The sense ‘conflict’ may be intended here (so Hkr 1991). Hregg is common as a base-word in battle-kennings (LP: hregg), and, perhaps in parallel with hríð ‘storm, phase in a battle, battle’, could have been understood metaphorically. If so, the stanza may anticipate the trouble that ensues in Lv 2 and its context. — [3] at ‘hitting’: At ‘towards, against’ refers to the threat of a storm hitting the ship. The variant á ‘on’ is also possible.  — [5, 6] kleifar funa ýstéttar ‘slopes of the flame of the yew-bow’s path [ARM/HAND > GOLD > WOMEN]’: (a) The kenning in itself makes good sense, ý- referring etymologically to a bow made of yew (ýr m.), whose path is the arm or hand on which it rests. Though unexplained in the prose sources, the apparent address to women is somewhat in harmony with l. 1’s reference to the speculation of a lady (sæta), and this reading is adopted also in ÍF 27, ÍF 29 and Hkr 1991. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) finds a woman-kenning here unlikely and, expecting a man-kenning for which either stéttar ‘path’ or kleifar ‘slopes’ would have to be the base-word, assumes corruption. He suggests (out of several possible emendations) reading eim(s)þreytir ‘fire-destroyer’ in place of ýstéttar ‘yew-path’. Eim- ‘fire’ (partially supported by ‘ey’ in 325VII) would form a gold-kenning with the variant kleifar Haka ‘the slope of Haki <sea-king> [SEA]’ in l. 6, on the well-known pattern ‘fire of the sea/water’ = ‘gold’. This is turn yields the kenning ‘destroyer of gold [GENEROUS MAN]’, which can then be taken in apposition to nom. sg. Ôleifr (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) or as a vocative (Skj B, seemingly). (c) Kock (NN §780) accepts the emendation to -þreytir, but retains ýs to give ‘bow’s destroyer [WARRIOR]’, specified as ‘sea-warrior’ by kleifar Haka. He claims seven examples of phrases meaning ‘sea-warrior’ including this one (NN §1021). — [6, 8] Ôleifr inn digri ‘Óláfr inn digri (“the Stout”)’: King Óláfr Haraldsson (r. c. 1015-30); see ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.

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