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:

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, 815

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — Jǫk Lv 2I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Jǫkull Bárðarson, Lausavísur 2’ 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. 815.

Svíða sôr af mœði;
setit hefk opt við betra;
unds á oss, sús sprændi
ótrauð legi rauðum.
Byss mér blóð ór þessi
ben; ték við þrek venjask;
verpr hjalmgǫfugr hilmir
heiðsær á mik reiði.

Sôr svíða af mœði; hefk opt setit við betra; unds á oss, sús sprændi ótrauð rauðum legi. Blóð byss mér ór þessi ben; ték venjask við þrek; hjalmgǫfugr, heiðsær hilmir verpr reiði á mik.

Wounds are burning from exhaustion; I have often sat through better; there is a gash on us [me], which has spurted, unstinting, red liquid. My blood gushes from this wound; I am becoming used to acts of courage; the helmet-noble, revered ruler hurls his anger at me.

Mss: (440r) (Hkr); Holm2(60r), 972ˣ(448va), J2ˣ(212v), 321ˣ(227), 73aˣ(184r), 68(59v), 61(118rb-va), 325V(71vb), 325VII(33v), Bb(191va), Flat(120ra), Tóm(148v) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] mœði: móði 972ˣ    [2] hefk (‘hefi ec’): efi ek Holm2;    opt: enn J2ˣ, of 73aˣ    [3] unds á oss sús (‘und er a os su er’): und lét æ sem 325V;    unds (‘und er’): undr er 61;    á: om. J2ˣ, 321ˣ, Flat, (í)(?) 61;    sús (‘su er’): ‘hv(e)’(?) 61, svá at Tóm    [4] ótrauð: ótrauðr 61;    legi: loga 321ˣ;    rauðum: ‘rau[...]’ 61    [5] Byss: ‘by’ J2ˣ;    ór: ‘u[...]’ 61;    þessi: so J2ˣ, 321ˣ, 73aˣ, 325VII, þessu Kˣ, Holm2, 68, hausi 61, 325V, Bb, Flat, Tóm    [6] ben: so J2ˣ, 321ˣ, 73aˣ, 61, 325V, 325VII, Flat, Tóm, beni Kˣ, Holm2, 68, ‘bęni’ or ‘bęin’ Bb;    þrek: om. J2ˣ;    venjask: ‘ventazst’ Flat    [7] ‑gǫfugr: ‘‑gavfr(r)’(?) 325V;    hilmir: hilmi 972ˣ    [8] heið‑: heit‑ J2ˣ, 61

Editions: Skj: Jǫkull Bárðarson, Lausavísur 2: AI, 314-5, BI, 291, Skald I, 148; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 424, IV, 161, ÍF 27, 332, Hkr 1991, II, 495 (ÓHHkr ch. 182); Fms 5, 29-30, Fms 12, 97, ÓH 1941, I, 504 (ch. 178), Flat 1860-8, II, 317.

Context: A considerable while after the incident attached to Lv 1, Jǫkull is captured in Gotland by Óláfr’s men, and executed in the king’s presence. Jǫkull jerks as the blow is struck, so that it hits his head rather than neck, and hence has a few moments to sit up and compose the stanza before dying of the wound.

Notes: [2] setit við betra ‘sat through better’: The speaker wryly compares his present trauma with past experience. The exact sense of sitja við + acc. is uncertain here, but may be equivalent to sitja + acc. ‘endure, put up with’ (Fritzner: sitja 6).  — [5-6] ór þessi ben ‘from this wound’: The variant ór þessu beni in , Holm2 and 68 contains the known n. counterpart to ben f. ‘wound’ (cf. Fritzner: ben f., ben n.). — [8] heiðsær ‘revered’: More literally, ‘regarded with reverence’. The cpd is a hap. leg., though the corresponding f. noun is recorded (see Fritzner, LP: heiðsæi). 

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