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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bjbp Jóms 1I

Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 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. 959.

Bjarni byskup KolbeinssonJómsvíkingadrápa

text and translation

Engan kveðk at óði
órum málma rýri
(þó gatk hróðr of hugðan)
hljóðs (atferðar prýði).
Framm mun ek fyr ǫldum
Yggjar bjór of fœra,
þó at engir ýtar
ættgóðir mér hlýði.

Kveðk engan {rýri málma} hljóðs at óði órum; þó gatk hróðr of {hugðan prýði atferðar}. Ek mun of fœra framm {bjór Yggjar} fyr ǫldum, þó at engir ættgóðir ýtar hlýði mér.
‘I call upon no diminisher of metal weapons [WARRIOR] for a hearing for our [my] poem; nonetheless, I have produced a praise-poem about the courageous adorner of action [MAN]. I will bring forth the beer of Yggr <= Óðinn> [POEM] before people, although no well-born men may listen to me.

notes and context

The stanza is preserved only as part of a continuous text of Jóms in R and hence, together with sts 2-9, 13-16, 19, 21-5, 27, 28, 31, 35-7, 39 and 40, is not embedded in a narrative context.

On the use of 65ˣ and the diplomatic texts in Jvs 1879 (siglum RCP when cited in Readings) and Skj A (siglum RFJ) as supplementary witnesses to the R reading, see Introduction to this poem. — The poet humorously inverts the conventional call for a hearing which opens many skaldic praise-poems (e.g. Eskál Vell 1; cf. Wood 1960a), calling for no-one’s attention, and anticipating that no-one will listen to his composition (though st. 5/7 envisages an audience). The subject of glorious martial deeds is paradigmatic but this, too, is shortly to be undercut by the abrupt change of subject to the poet’s disappointment in love (sts 2, 3, 6, and the stef). — [1-4]: Kveðja e-n e-s ‘to call on sby for sth.’ is well attested. In Fms 11 and 12, each couplet is taken as a syntactic unit and hljóðs ‘a hearing’ is not construed with kveðk ‘I call’; but the remainder of the interpretation departs unnecessarily from the legible text.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Bjarni Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 1: AII, 1, BII, 1, Skald II, 1; Fms 11, 163, Fms 12, 241, Jvs 1879, 104-5. 


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