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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Valgarðr á Velli (Valg)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Poem about Haraldr harðráði (Har) - 11

Skj info: Valgarðr á Velli, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 390-3, BI, 360-3).

Skj poems:
Et digt om Harald hårdråde

Nothing is known about Valgarðr (Valg), but his nickname (á Velli ‘at Völlur’) indicates that he could have belonged to the family of Mǫrðr Valgarðsson from Völlur (Rangársýsla) in southern Iceland (see Brennu-Njáls saga, ÍF 12, passim; SnE 1848-87, III, 605-6; LH 1894-1901, I, 637-8). Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 275) lists him among Haraldr Sigurðarson’s court poets.

Poem about Haraldr harðráði — Valg HarII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Valgarðr á Velli, Poem about Haraldr harðráði’ 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. 300-10. <> (accessed 5 July 2022)

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Skj: Valgarðr á Velli: Et digt om Harald hårdråde (AI, 390-3, BI, 360-3)

SkP info: II, 309-10

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

11 — Valg Har 11II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Valgarðr á Velli, Poem about Haraldr harðráði 11’ 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. 309-10.

Lauðr vas lagt í beðja;
lék sollit haf golli,
enn herskipum hrannir
hǫfuð ógurlig þógu.
Ræðr, en ræsir œðri
rístr aldri sæ kaldan,
— sveit tér sínum dróttni
snjǫll — Nóregi ǫllum.

Lauðr vas lagt í beðja; sollit haf lék golli, enn hrannir þógu ógurlig hǫfuð herskipum. Ræðr ǫllum Nóregi, en œðri ræsir rístr aldri kaldan sæ; snjǫll sveit tér dróttni sínum.

Foam was folded into layers; the swollen sea played with gold, and waves washed the terrifying heads of the warships. You rule all Norway, and a nobler regent will never carve the cold sea; the valiant company support their lord.

Mss: Mork(3v) (Mork); Flat(194va) (Flat); H(30r), Hr(22ra) (H-Hr); FskBˣ(65v-66r), FskAˣ(247) (Fsk, ll. 5-8); R(38v), Tˣ(40r), A(13v), B(6r), 744ˣ(36r), C(7v) (SnE, ll. 1-4)

Readings: [1] vas (‘var’): er B;    í: á C;    beðja: ‘bebi’ Mork, bæði Flat, H, Hr, R, C, ‘bedi’ Tˣ, B, beð A    [2] lék: legg C;    haf golli: ‘[…]’ B, ‘ḥạf gollí’ 744ˣ    [3] ‑skipum: ‑skipa A, B    [6] rístr: so H, Hr, FskAˣ, ríkr Mork, Flat, ristum FskBˣ;    aldri: ‘alldum’ FskBˣ    [7] tér: ‘þier’ Flat

Editions: Skj: Valgarðr á Velli, Et digt om Harald hårdråde 11: AI, 393, BI, 362-3, Skald I, 181, NN §877; Mork 1867, 19, Mork 1928-32, 92, Andersson and Gade 2000, 153, 474 (MH); Flat 1860-8, III, 308 (MH); Fms 6, 180 (HSig ch. 19); ÍF 29, 242 (ch. 52); SnE 1848-87, I, 500-1, II, 451, 535, 600, SnE 1931, 176, SnE 1998, I, 95.

Context: As above. In SnE (Skm) hrǫnn is given as a heiti for ‘wave’.

Notes: [1] beðja (m. acc. pl.) ‘layers’: The emendation beðja ‘layers’ is conjectural, but none of the variants allows for an adequate reading. Beðr ‘layer, bed, quilt’ is a m. ja-stem and the regular acc. pl. is beði, but the metre requires a long-stemmed disyllabic word in positions 5-6. Beðja could be an archaic form (Gmc *baðja-: see ANG §368; SnE 1998 I, 147, 216). Skj B connects beðja with golli (n. dat. sg.) ‘gold’ (l. 2) which is taken as a possessive dat. (Skummet fyldte guldets underlag ‘The foam filled the gold’s pad’), but in LP: beðr 2, Finnur suggests the (unattested) translation ‘long foaming breakers’ (lange skumbølger). Kock (NN §877) tentatively emends to beðjum (m. dat. pl.) which he translates as långa bäddar ‘long beds’. The idea seems to be that the foam formed layers, just like a down-quilt, covering the sea and making it ‘swollen’ (sollit haf (l. 2)). See also Indrebø 1928, 116-20. — [4] þógu ógurlig hǫfuð ‘washed the terrifying heads’: See Note to st. 10/5 above. Landnámabók (Ldn, ÍF 1, 313), contains an instructive section on the terror that these heads could inspire: Þat var upphaf hinna heiðnu laga, at menn skyldi eigi hafa hǫfuðskip í haf, en ef þeir hefði, þá skyldi þeir af taka hǫfuð, áðr þeir kœmi í landsýn, ok sigla eigi at landi með gapandi hǫfðum eða gínandi trjónum, svá at landvættir fælisk við ‘That was the opening [section] of the pagan laws, that people must not have ships with heads when setting out to sea. But if they did, then they must take off the heads before they sighted land and not sail toward land with gaping heads or yawning mouths, so that the guardian spirits of the land would be frightened’.

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