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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, ‘(Introduction to) 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.

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

SkP info: II, 302-3

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Valg Har 3II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Valgarðr á Velli, Poem about Haraldr harðráði 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, pp. 302-3.

Bjartr sveimaði brími
(brutu víkingar fíkjum)
vísa styrks af virki
— varp sorg á mey — (borgar).

Bjartr brími styrks vísa sveimaði af virki; víkingar brutu borgar fíkjum; sorg varp á mey.

The bright fire of the strong leader surged from the rampart; vikings destroyed strongholds ferociously; grief afflicted the maiden.

Mss: (40v), R(38v-39r), 761bˣ(401r), U(40v) (l. 1), A(13v), B(6r), 744ˣ(38v), C(8r) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Bjartr: so U, C, Bjart Tˣ, R, brátt A, Bratt B;    brími: so R, A, B, C, ‘bruni’ Tˣ, U    [2] brutu: brutusk A, B    [3] styrks: sterks B;    af: of A, ór B;    virki: verki C    [4] sorg á mey borgar: ‘[…]’ R;    á mey: á men 761bˣ, ‘[…]’ B

Editions: Skj: Valgarðr á Velli, Et digt om Harald hårdråde 3: AI, 391, BI, 360, Skald I, 180, NN §1143; SnE 1848-87, I, 508-9, II, 355, 454, 537, 603, SnE 1931, 178, SnE 1998, I, 98.

Context: Brími is given in Skm as a heiti for ‘fire’.

Notes: [All]: The helmingr is difficult to interpret with any certainty, and the many variants show that the scribes and redactors tried to solve the problems in various ways. The last four words are missing in R because the top of 39r has been removed. ÁM’s copy of R in AM 761 b 4°ˣ (761bˣ) has also been consulted selectively for this helmingr. Because 761bˣ shows no lacuna, R was likely complete when it was copied by ÁM. — [2] víkingar ‘vikings’: For this term, see Note to Hskv Útdr 1/1, 4. — [2] fíkjum ‘ferociously’: For this adv., see also Bkrepp Magndr 5/1 and Mark Eirdr 6/2. — [3] af virki ‘from the rampart’: Virki (n. sg.) can mean both ‘rampart’ or ‘deeds’. Af virki ‘because of the deeds’ would give the following reading of ll. 1, 3: bjartr brími sveimaði af virki styrks vísa ‘the bright fire surged because of the deeds of the strong leader’. However, because of the strongholds (borgar) mentioned in l. 4, it is preferable to equate virki with ‘rampart’ rather than with ‘deeds’ here. Skj B adopts the A variant of ‘above’ and construes ll. 1-4 as follows (so also SnE 1998, I): Bjartr brími styrks vísa sveimaði of borgar virki; víkingar brutu fíkjum; sorg varp á mey ‘The bright fire of the strong leader surged over the ramparts of the stronghold; the vikings destroyed [them] ferociously; grief afflicted the maiden’. However, brjóta ‘break, destroy’ (l. 2) is regularly construed with an overt acc. object (see Fritzner: brjóta 1, 4; LP: brjóta 1-2). Styrks vísa ‘of the strong ruler’ could also modify víkingar ‘vikings’ (l. 2) (see SnE 1998, I, 218). Kock (NN §1143) takes af virki with brutu (víkingar brutu fíkjum af virki borgar styrks vísa ‘vikings broke off the rampart of the stronghold of the strong leader ferociously’), but brjóta af in that meaning is very rare (see Fritzner: brjóta af), and it is not clear who ‘the strong leader’ is. — [4] sorg varp á mey ‘grief afflicted the maiden’: AM 761bˣ has varp á men ‘afflicted the necklace [of the stronghold] (i.e. rampart (?))’, which makes little sense but likely represents the R reading. For the possible mistreatment of women by victorious vikings, see Note to ÞjóðA Magn 7/5, 6, st. 9 below, Grani Har 1/1, 4 and Hskv Útdr 5. — [4] borgar ‘strongholds’: Taken here as f. acc. pl. (see ANG §390.4), as the object of brutu (‘broke’). Skj B and Skald construe it as a gen. sg. with virki ‘rampart’ (virki borgar ‘the rampart of the stronghold’; see Note to l. 3 above).

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