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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 2 July 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6 

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

SkP info: II, 389

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — Mberf Lv 5II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson, Lausavísur 5’ 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. 389.

Jǫrp mun eigi verpa
arm-Hlín* á glæ sínum;
orð spyrk gollhrings Gerðar
góð of skald í hljóði.
Annk, þótt eigi finnak
opt, goðvefjar þoptu;
viti menn, at hykk hennar
hôla rœkðarmôlum.

{Jǫrp arm-Hlín*} mun eigi verpa sínum á glæ; spyrk í hljóði góð orð {Gerðar gollhrings} of skald. Annk {þoptu goðvefjar}, þótt eigi finnak opt; viti menn, at hykk hôla rœkðarmôlum hennar.

{The brown-haired Hlín <goddess> of the arm} [WOMAN] will not throw away her [words] to no avail; I hear in secret the kind words {of the Gerðr <goddess> of the gold ring} [WOMAN] about the skald. I love {the thwart of precious cloth} [WOMAN], although I don’t often meet [her]; let men know that I think very highly of her caring comments.

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

Readings: [2] arm‑: so F, E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ, orm‑ Mork, H, Hr;    ‑Hlín*: ‑linns Mork, F, E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ, ‑lín with a partly erased letter after ‑n H, ‑líns Hr;    sínum: sinni F, E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ    [4] of: mun Hr    [5] þótt: þó Hr;    finnak: finna Hr    [7] hykk: hug 42ˣ;    hennar: so F, E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ, henni Mork, H, Hr    [8] hôla: ‘hal ꜳ’ Hr, ‘hæla’ F, ‘halar’ 42ˣ

Editions: Skj: Magnús berfœttr, Lausavísur 5: AI, 433, BI, 403, Skald I, 199, NN §2532; Mork 1867, 152, Mork 1928-32, 330-1, Andersson and Gade 2000, 308, 487 (Mberf); Fms 7, 62 (Mberf ch. 30); F 1871, 276, E 1916, 125 (Mberf).

Context: As Lv 3-4 above.

Notes: [1] jǫrp ‘the brown-haired’: Lit. ‘brown’. — [2] arm-Hlín* ‘the Hlín <goddess> of the arm [WOMAN]’: Ormlinns ‘of the snake-tree’ or ‘of the snake-fire’ (so Mork, Hr) and armlinns ‘of the arm-snake’ or ‘of the arm-tree’, ‘of the arm-fire’ (so F, E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ) make no sense in the present context, and the emendation is in keeping with earlier eds. Linnr usually means ‘snake’ and, more rarely, ‘tree’ (see LP: linnr 1-2). — [2] sínum ‘her [words]’: In the construction verpa á glæ, lit. ‘throw into the sea’, i.e. ‘throw away to no avail’ (ll. 1, 2), an implicit orðum (n. dat. pl.) ‘words’ is understood as a referent to sínum (dat. pl. or m. dat. sg.) ‘her’ (so Skj B). Kock’s (NN §2532) attempt to explain sínum as an absolute dat. (kvinnan kastar inte sitt i sjön ‘the woman does not throw hers into the sea’, i.e. ‘what she does, is not thrown away’, ‘what she does, she does not do in vain’) is less convincing. For the idioms kasta, verpa, bera á glæ ‘throw, carry into the sea’ (‘throw away to no avail’), see Fritzner: glær. — [3] Gerðar gollhrings ‘of the Gerðr <goddess> of the gold ring [WOMAN]’: This woman-kenning also occurs in the refrain of the Gamanvísur ‘Jesting Vísur’ (Hharð Gamv), which Magnús’s grandfather, Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson, composed about his future wife, Ellisif (Elizabeth), the daughter of Jaroslav of Novgorod. The verbal echo is hardly coincidental, because Magnús seems to have wanted to emulate his grandfather (cf. his military campaigns in the west). — [7] hennar (f. gen. sg.) ‘her’: Henni (f. dat. sg.) ‘her’ (so Mork, H, Hr) is ungrammatical in the present context.

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated