Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson (Mberf)
12th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;
Lausavísur (Lv) - 6
See ‘Royal Biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.
Magnús berfœttr ‘Barelegs’ Óláfsson, the son of Óláfr kyrri, was king of Norway from 1093-1103 (for a discussion of his nickname, see Note to Anon Nkt 43/1). He died in battle in Ulster, Ireland, on 24 August 1103. See Theodoricus (MHN 59-63; McDougall and McDougall 1998, 49-51), Ágr (ÍF 29, 42-7; Ágr 1995, 60-71), Mork (Mork 1928-32, 297-337; Andersson and Gade 2000, 285-313), Fsk (ÍF 29, 301-15; Finlay 2004, 241-52), Hkr (ÍF 28, 210-37; Hollander 1991, 668-87), H-Hr (Fms 7, 1-73). See also Orkn (ÍF 34, 92-102, 312-15, 343-4, 346-8; Hermann Pálsson and Edwards 1987, 82-9). For the genealogies of Magnús and his sons, see Genealogies II.2.f and II.3 in ÍF 28.
Events documented in poetry: The joint rule of Magnús and his cousin, Hákon Magnússon, 1093-4 (Anon (Mberf) 1); the uprising against Magnús in 1094, spearheaded by the district chieftain Steigar-Þórir Þórðarson, and the subsequent hanging of the rebels (SteigÞ Kv; Bkrepp Magndr 2-3; Þham Magndr 1 and Lv; Gísl Magnkv 1-8; Anon (Mberf) 2-3); Magnús’s harrying in Halland, in present-day Sweden (c. 1093-5; Bkrepp Magndr 1); his ﬁrst expedition to the west in 1098, the capture of King Lǫgmaðr Guðrøðarson of the Hebrides and the killing of Earl Hugh of Shrewsbury in the Menai Strait (Mberf Lv 1; Kali Lv; Bkrepp Magndr 5-11; Þham Magndr 2-3; Gísl Magnkv 9-16); Magnús’s campaigns in Sweden against King Ingi Steinkelsson and the battle of Fuxerna (c. 1100-2; Mberf Lv 2; Eldj Lv 1-2; Þham Magndr 4; Gísl Magnkv 17-20; Anon (Mberf) 4-5); Magnús’s second expedition to the west and his death in Ulster in 1103 (Þham Magndr 5). Two anonymous lausavísur describe Magnús’s sailing (Anon (Mberf) 6-7) and his life is chronicled in Anon Nkt 42-4, 66-7. In addition to the two lausavísur mentioned above (Mberf Lv 1-2), another four stanzas are attributed to Magnús (Mberf Lv 3-6), describing his love for two women (Matilda and an unknown Irish woman).
Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson, Lausavísur’ 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. 385-90.
Skj: Magnús berfœttr: Lausavísur (AI, 432-3, BI, 402-3)
SkP info: II, 385-6
1 — Mberf Lv 1II
Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson, Lausavísur 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. 385-6.
This helmingr (Mberf Lv 1) is preserved in Mberf in Mork (Mork), H, Hr (H-Hr) and mss Flat, 325III α and R702ˣ of Orkn. Mork is the main ms. The prose of H-Hr follows Orkn at this point, but it is difficult to establish a stemma for the poetry. Skj A includes readings from AM 762 4°ˣ (762ˣ), a copy of R702ˣ, which has no independent value and has not been consulted for the present edn.
|Auð hefk minn, þanns mǫnnum
margteitum réðk veita,
— húf létk kløkkvan klífa
kolgur — illa folginn.
Hefk folginn auð minn, þanns réðk veita margteitum mǫnnum, illa; létk kløkkvan húf klífa kolgur.
I have invested my wealth, which I gave to my most cheerful men, unwisely; I let the flexible hull climb the breakers.
Mss: Mork(24r) (Mork); H(89v), Hr(62ra) (H-Hr); Flat(134ra), 325III α(2v), R702ˣ(40v) (Orkn)
Readings:  réðk (‘réþ ec’): réð Hr  húf: kjǫl 325III α, R702ˣ; létk (‘let ec’): læt ek H; kløkkvan: kaldan 325III α, R702ˣ; klífa: kljúfa Hr
Editions: Skj: Magnús berfœttr, Lausavísur 1: AI, 432, BI, 402, Skald I, 199; Mork 1867, 152, Mork 1928-32, 332, Andersson and Gade 2000, 309, 488 (Mberf); Fms 7, 49 (Mberf ch. 24); Flat 1860-8, II, 429, Orkn 1913-16, 106, ÍF 34, 100 (ch. 41).
Context: In Mork the helmingr is recited by Magnús in response to an anonymous helmingr as he is getting ready to embark on his second expedition to the west in 1102. In Orkn and H-Hr this exchange occurs in the Hebrides in 1098-9 and the first half-st., the question eliciting Magnús’s response, is spoken by Kali Sæbjarnarson (see Kali Lv).
Notes: [1, 4] hefk folginn auð minn … illa ‘I have invested my wealth … unwisely’: This is Magnús’s response to Kali’s question (Kali Lv) about how Magnús’s men reward him for his lavish gifts. Mork provides no motivation for this verbal exchange, but in Orkn and in H-Hr it is prompted by the desertion of many of Magnús’s men during their stay in the Hebrides. Magnús allows some men to return to Norway, but many leave without permission. —  húf ‘hull’: Denotes the middle planks between the stem and the stern (see Falk 1912, 51, 53; Jesch 2001a, 143-4). Kjǫl ‘keel’ (so 325III α, R702ˣ) leaves the l. with three alliterating staves. —  létk (3rd pers. sg. pret. indic.) ‘I let’: Skj B and Skald adopt the H variant lætk (3rd pers. sg. pres. indic.) ‘I let’, a form that is not supported by the majority of ms. witnesses. —  illa ‘unwisely’: Lit. ‘badly’.