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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Nefari (Nefari)

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

Lausavísa (Lv) - 1

Skj info: Nefari, Nordmand(?), 12. årh. (AI, 537, BI, 518).

Skj poems:

Nefari (Nefari) is otherwise unknown. He was in the company of Jón kuflungr ‘Monk’ and his party (the Kuflungar) during a sea-voyage in the late autumn of 1186, when the Kuflungar were on their way north from Oslo to attack Sverrir and the Birkibeinar in Trondheim (see also Blakkr Lv 1-2). Finnur Jónsson (LH 1894-1901, II, 29) suggests that Nefari may have been from Norway, which is possible, but cannot be confirmed.

Lausavísa — Nefari LvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Nefari, Lausavísa’ 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. 645-6.


Skj: Nefari: Lausavísa, 1186 (AI, 537, BI, 518); stanzas (if different): [v]

SkP info: II, 645-6

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Nefari Lv 1II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Nefari, Lausavísa 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. 645-6.

Týnum Birkibeinum!
Beri Sverrir hlut verra!
Lǫtum randhœing reyndan
ríða hart ok tíðum!
Hœlumk minnst í máli!
Metumk heldr at val felldan!
Lǫtum skipta guð giptu!
Gerum hríð, þás þeim svíði!

Týnum Birkibeinum! Beri Sverrir verra hlut! Lǫtum {reyndan randhœing} ríða hart ok tíðum! Hœlumk minnst í máli! Metumk heldr at felldan val! Lǫtum guð skipta giptu! Gerum hríð, þás svíði þeim!

Let’s destroy the Birkibeinar! May Sverrir suffer defeat! Let’s make {the tested shield-rim salmon} [SWORD] swing hard and frequently! Let’s boast the least in our speech! Rather, let’s measure ourselves when the slaughtered ones have fallen! Let’s allow God to decide the outcome! Let’s make a storm that will smart for them!

Mss: 327(55r), Flat(155va), 8(9v), E(102v), 81a(31ra) (Sv)

Readings: [1] Týnum: Rænum Flat    [3] randhœing: ‘ranghæíng’ Flat, randir 8, ‘randheing’ E, randhring 81a;    reyndan: reyndar 8    [5] minnst: minnr 8;    máli: mlum 8    [6] Metumk: ‘mektumz’ Flat;    at: af Flat;    felldan: felldum Flat, 8, 81a    [7] guð: om. Flat    [8] þás (‘þa er’): ‘suo at’ 81a

Editions: Skj: Nefari, Lausavísa: AI, 537, BI, 518, Skald I, 253; ÍF 30, 161 (ch. 105), Sv 1920, 112, Flat 1860-8, II, 627, E 1916, 354, Sv 1910-86, 138.

Context: The Kuflungar are sailing in strong winds north to Agdenes in Trøndelag (1186). Nefari incites his companions to act rather than to boast when they face Sverrir and the Birkibeinar in Trondheim.

Notes: [All]: For a similar incitement from one of the Birkibeinar a year later, see Blakkr Lv 1-2 below. — [1] Birkibeinum ‘the Birkibeinar’: The Birkibeinar ‘Birch-legs’ were the followers of Sverrir Sigurðarson. They were the former supporters of Eysteinn meyla ‘Little Girl’ Eysteinsson (d. 1177), and they received their name because they were initially so poor that they wrapped their feet in bark for want of shoes (see ÍF 28, 411). — [2] beri Sverrir verra hlut ‘may Sverrir suffer defeat’: Lit. ‘may Sverrir bear the worst lot’. — [3, 7] lǫtum ‘let’s’: The short stem vowel <ǫ> (from lata rather than láta ‘let’; see ANG §505 Anm. 1) is required by the metre. Látum (so ÍF 30; ltum, Skald) creates a hypermetrical l. — [3] randhœing ‘shield-rim salmon [SWORD]’: Hœingr is a male salmon (see Anon Nkt 4/7). — [6] metumk ‘let’s measure ourselves’: This implies that they should put off quarrelling about who is better until after the attack. — [6] at felldan val ‘when the slaughtered ones have fallen’: Lit. ‘after the slain have been felled’. The prep. at ‘after’ is used with the acc. in a temporal sense. The variant with the dat., at felldum val (so 8, 81a) would translate as ‘in accordance with the slaughtered ones who have fallen’. — [8] þás ‘that’: Both Skj B and Skald read er (so Skj B) or es (so Skald) ‘that’ and delete the demonstrative þá (f. acc. sg.) against all mss.

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