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Vígfúss Víga-Glúmsson (Vígf)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Diana Whaley;

1. Poem about Hákon jarl(?) (Hák) - 1

Vígfúss (Vígf) was born c. 955, according to the chronology of Víga-Glúms saga, the saga of his father Víga-Glúmr ‘Slayings-Glúmr’ Eyjólfsson, in which Vígfúss also features prominently. Physically and temperamentally robust, he travelled abroad on merchant voyages and then became a trusted retainer of the jarls of Hlaðir (Lade), Hákon and Eiríkr. Back in Iceland, he spent six years in outlawry after avenging his foster-father on Bárðr, brother of Brúsi skáld, then appears to have returned to the service of the jarls, fighting bravely in the battles of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen, c. 985) and Svǫlðr (c. 1000), before settling back in Iceland (see further LH I, 541-2 for his biography). He is named in the U text of Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 256) as a poet of Hákon jarl, and the first stanza below (Vígf Hák) may belong to a composition about him. That and the lausavísa that follows are the only extant poetry credited to Vígfúss (though see Introduction to Þskúm Lv). Olsen (1956; 1962, 51-2), noting resemblances to Eskál Vell 1 both in Vígf Lv and in the dróttkvætt lines on the Karlevi stone (Run Öl1/7VI) and envisaging a similar historical context, suggested Vígfúss as the Karlevi poet, but this is not generally accepted.

Poem about Hákon jarl(?) — Vígf HákI

Diana Whaley 2012, ‘ Vígfúss Víga-Glúmsson, Poem about Hákon jarl(?)’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 362. <> (accessed 29 November 2021)

stanzas:  1 

Skj: Vígfúss Víga-Glúmsson: [1]. Digt om Hakon jarl(?), o. 986. (AI, 120, BI, 115); stanzas (if different): [v]

SkP info: I, 363

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Vígf Hák 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Vígfúss Víga-Glúmsson, Poem about Hákon jarl(?) 1’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 363.

Varðat hœgt, þás hurðir
hjǫrklofnar sák rofna
(hôtt sǫng Hǫgna) Geitis,
(hregg) til Vagns at leggja.
Þar gengum vér, þrøngvar
þunníss, í bǫð, Gunnar,
(strǫng vas) danskra drengja
(darra flaug) til knarrar.

Varðat hœgt at leggja til Vagns, þás sák {hjǫrklofnar hurðir Geitis} rofna; {hregg Hǫgna} sǫng hôtt. Þar gengum vér í bǫð til knarrar danskra drengja, {þrøngvar {þunníss Gunnar}}; flaug darra vas strǫng.

It was not easy to attack Vagn, when I saw {the sword-riven doors of Geitir <sea-king>} [SHIELDS] split; {the storm of Hǫgni <legendary hero>} [BATTLE] sang loudly. There we advanced into battle towards the vessel of the Danish warriors, {forcers {of the slender ice of Gunnr <valkyrie>}} [SWORD > WARRIORS]; the flight of spears was mighty.

Mss: FskBˣ(29v), FskAˣ(109-110) (Fsk); 510(63r) (Jvs)

Readings: [1] Varðat: so FskAˣ, var at þar FskBˣ, varðar 510;    þás (‘þa er’): þar er 510    [2] sák (‘sa ek’): sá er FskAˣ;    rofna: ‘hornna’ or ‘hrornna’ 510    [3] hôtt: ‘het’ FskAˣ;    Hǫgna: hjǫrva 510;    Geitis: so 510, ‘giætte’ FskBˣ, ‘gattar’ FskAˣ    [4] hregg: hers 510    [5] þrøngvar (‘þro᷎nguar’ or ‘þio᷎nguar’): so 510, ‘þrongann’ FskBˣ, ‘þrꝍngrar’ FskAˣ    [6] þunníss í bǫð Gunnar: ‘þunn enn borð at gunne’ FskAˣ, ‘þunn ise baud grimnar’ 510    [8] darra: dǫrru 510

Editions: Skj: Vígfúss Víga-Glúmsson, [1]. Digt om Hakon jarl(?): AI, 120, BI, 115, Skald I, 65, NN §§385, 386, 1817, 1853C; Fsk 1902-3, 99 (ch. 20), ÍF 29, 134 (ch. 22); Fms 11, 142 n., Fms 12, 241, Jvs 1879, 87.

Context: Hákon jarl, though prevailing against the Jómsvíkingar at Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen), has not yet captured Vagn Ákason’s high-sided ship. He orders his larger ships to be advanced and the smaller ones withdrawn. Fsk introduces the stanza, Um þat orti Vígfúss Víga-GlúmssonVígfúss Víga-Glúmsson composed about that’, while 510 seems to set its composition more explicity within the time of the action (Fms 11): kvað […] þá, er menn sóktu at skeiðinni Vagns Ákasonar ‘then, as men attacked Vagn Ákason’s warship, [he] said’.

Notes: [1] þás ‘when’: Þars ‘where’ in 510 would be equally acceptable, and it is adopted by Konráð Gíslason (1892, 19). — [3] Hǫgna ‘of Hǫgni <legendary hero>’: The 510 variant hjǫrva ‘of swords’ would also form a battle-kenning with hregg ‘storm’. — [3] Geitis ‘of Geitir <sea-king>’: Geitir appears among heiti for sea-kings in Þul Sækonunga 1/7III, and in a shield-kenning garðr Geitis ‘enclosure of Geitir’ in Þjóð Haustl 20/5III. Kock (Skald; NN §385), pointing out the awkwardness of the word order assumed here and in previous eds, opts for the FskAˣ reading gáttar and reads hregg gáttar Hǫgna ‘storm of the door of Hǫgni [SHIELD > BATTLE]’. This, however, leaves hurðir ‘doors’ in l. 1 as a shield-kenning without a determinant, and Kock’s suggestion that a determinant is supplied in the following adj. hjǫrklofnar ‘sword-riven’ does not entirely convince. — [4] Vagns ‘Vagn’: Vagn Ákason, one of the leaders of the force known in later tradition as the Jómsvíkingar; see skald Biography of Vagn. — [5] þrøngvar ‘forcers’: Emendation to nom. sg. þrøngvir would produce an apostrophe to a single warrior, presumably to Hákon jarl (see Introduction), but if this straightforward nomen agentis were the original reading it would be difficult to account for its corruption. The pl. form leads Fidjestøl (1982, 165) to suggest that the stanza is a lausavísa addressed after the battle to Vígfúss’s comrades. It could alternatively be taken in apposition to vér ‘we’. — [7] danskra drengja ‘of the Danish warriors’: This phrase could instead be taken with darra flaug ‘flight of spears’ (l. 8), as by Kock in Skald and NN §386, though Kock does not rule out the arrangement above, which is adopted by most eds. Jesch (2001a, 130, cf. 232) finds the use of the word drengr to refer to opponents ‘rather odd’ since in early usage it generally refers to fellow-warriors on the same side, and she counts the stanza’s authenticity as ‘doubtful on other grounds’, but drengr could be honorific, showing how tough the opposition was. An ironic use of drengr is possible (e.g. Þvíðf Lv 1/2IV), but unlikely here. On the word, see Jesch (2001a, 216-32) and Goetting (2006).

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