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Runic Dictionary

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Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson (Mberf)

12th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Lausavísur (Lv) - 6

See ‘Royal Biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.

Vol. II. Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: from c. 1035 to c. 1300 > 8. Introduction > 5. Biographies > 1. Royal Biographies > 1. Kings of Norway > i. Magnús III berfœttr Óláfsson (Mberf) (r. 1093-1103)

Saga: Mberf (Ágr, Fsk, H-Hr, Hkr, Mork, Theodoricus).

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).

Lausavísur — Mberf LvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 18 September 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6 

Skj: Magnús berfœttr: Lausavísur (AI, 432-3, BI, 402-3)

SkP info: II, 387

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Mberf Lv 3II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson, Lausavísur 3’ 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, p. 387.

Mberf Lv 3-5, which are all attributed to Magnús, are interspersed with the prose of Mberf in Mork (Mork), H, Hr (H-Hr) and in the interpolated Hkr mss F, E, J2ˣ and 42ˣ. Poole (1985) has argued convincingly that these lvv., as well as a lv. attributed to Magnús inn góði Óláfsson (Mgóði Lv 2), originally belonged to one poem. See also Note to Mgóð Lv 2 [All]. Mork is the main ms.

Sús ein, es mér meinar,
Maktildr, ok vekr hildi
— már drekkr suðr ór sôrum
sveita — leik ok teiti.
Sá kennir mér svanni,
sín lǫnd es verr rǫndu,
— sverð bitu Hǫgna hurðir —
hvítjarpr sofa lítit.

Sús ein, Maktildr, es meinar mér leik ok teiti ok vekr hildi; suðr drekkr {már sveita} ór sôrum. Sá hvítjarpr svanni, es verr lǫnd sín rǫndu, kennir mér sofa lítit; sverð bitu {hurðir Hǫgna}.

There is one, Maktildr, who denies me fun and pleasure and stirs up strife; in the south {the seagull of gore} [RAVEN/EAGLE] drinks from wounds. That lady with the light-brown hair, who defends her lands with the shield, teaches me to sleep but little; swords bit {the doors of Hǫgni <legendary hero>} [SHIELDS].

Mss: Mork(24r) (Mork); H(91v), Hr(63ra) (H-Hr); F(59va), E(35v), J2ˣ(314r), 42ˣ(14r)

Readings: [1] Sús ein (‘Sv er ein’): Ein er sú all others    [2] Maktildr: makthildr H, matthildr Hr, F, E;    ok: er E    [4] leik ok teiti: teit ok leiki J2ˣ;    leik: ‘læk’ H    [6] es (‘er’): ok F    [7] Hǫgna: ‘ꜹgnu’ 42ˣ    [8] sofa: ‘sopa’ J2ˣ

Editions: Skj: Magnús berfœttr, Lausavísur 3: AI, 432, BI, 402, Skald I, 199; Mork 1867, 151, Mork 1928-32, 330, Andersson and Gade 2000, 307-8, 487 (Mberf); Fms 7, 61 (Mberf ch. 30); F 1871, 276, E 1916, 124 (Mberf).

Context: Magnús is said to have composed this and the following two sts to Maktildr, ‘daughter of the emperor’.

Notes: [1] sús ein ‘there is one’: Although the reading eins sú lit. ‘one is that’ (so all others) is syntactically possible, the Mork version is preferable from a metrical point of view (internal rhyme directly preceding the sentence boundary in Type XE 4; see Gade 1995a, 97-9). — [2] Maktildr: Maktildr may have been Matilda, the daughter of Malcolm III of Scotland (d. 13 November 1093) and Margaret, the great-grand-daughter of Edmund Ironside (see Poole 1985, 116-17). Matilda (d. 1 May 1118) was brought up in the care of her aunt Christina, abbess of Wilton, and she married King Henry I of England in 1100 (see Anderson 1922, II, 120-4; Chibnall 1991, 7-11). — [5, 8] kennir mér sofa lítit ‘teaches me to sleep but little’: Echoes Hróksv Lv 19/1-2VIII. For the motif of love causing sleeplessness, see also Mgóð Lv 2 and Run B255VI, a rune stick from Bergen, Norway (c. 1300). — [6] es verr lǫnd sín rǫndu ‘who defends her lands with the shield’: If Matilda was indeed the object of Magnús’s affections, the warlike activities attributed to her in this st. are somewhat peculiar (see Note to l. 2 above). For a similar mixture of admiration for a highborn woman and battle-imagery, see Rv Lv 15, 17, 19-22. — [8] hvítjarpr ‘with the light-brown hair’: Lit. ‘light-brown’.

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