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, 388
4 — Mberf Lv 4II
Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson, Lausavísur 4’ 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. 388.
|Hvats í heimi betra
— hyggr skald af þrô sjaldan —
— mjǫks langr, sás dvelr drengi,
dagr — an víf in fǫgru?
|Þungan berk af þingi|
þann harm, es skalk svanna
— skreytask menn á móti —
minn aldrigi finna.
Hvats betra í heimi an in fǫgru víf? Skald hyggr sjaldan af þrô; dagr, sás dvelr drengi, [e]s mjǫk langr. Berk þann þungan harm af þingi, es skalk aldrigi finna svanna minn; menn skreytask á móti.
What’s better in this world than fair women? The poet seldom forgets his yearning; the day which delays men is very long. I carry that heavy care from the assembly, that I shall never meet my woman; men dress up at the meeting.
Mss: Mork(24r) (Mork); H(91v), Hr(63ra) (H-Hr); F(59va), E(35v), J2ˣ(314r), 42ˣ(14r)
Readings:  Hvats (‘Hvat er’): Hvat er hér E, 42ˣ  af: á H, Hr, at 42ˣ  in fǫgru: it fagra H, Hr  harm: arm J2ˣ  skreytask: skreytisk Hr, ‘skeytaz’ F; á: at H, Hr
Editions: Skj: Magnús berfœttr, Lausavísur 4: AI, 433, BI, 402-3, Skald I, 199; Mork 1867, 152, Mork 1928-32, 330, Andersson and Gade 2000, 308, 487 (Mberf); Fms 7, 61 (Mberf ch. 30); F 1871, 276, E 1916, 124-5 (Mberf).
Context: As Lv 3 above.
Notes:  in fǫgru víf ‘fair women’: Lit. ‘the fair women’. —  menn skreytask á móti ‘men dress up at the meeting’: The meaning of this cl. is not immediately obvious. Skj B adopts the H, Hr variant at móti ‘at the meeting’, and the cl. is translated as mændene smykker sig til (ved?) mødet ‘men dress up for (at?) the meeting’. That variant is not supported by the ms. witnesses. Á móti ‘at the meeting’ may be synonymous with á þingi ‘at the assembly’ (see Fritzner: mót 3), which would imply that men were dressing up at the legal assembly for their own self-esteem and also in the anticipation of subsequent encounters with desired women. That interpretation is supported by st. 61 of Hávm (NK 26): Þveginn oc mettr | ríði maðr þingi at, | þótt hann séð væddr til vel; | scúa oc bróca | scammiz engi maðr, | né hestz in heldr, | þótt hann hafit góðan ‘Washed and full of food should a man ride to the assembly, although he might be dressed too well; no man should be ashamed of his shoes and trousers, nor of his horse, although he might not have a good one’.