Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorm Lv 20I

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld, Lausavísur 20’ 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. 833.

Þormóðr KolbrúnarskáldLausavísur

text and translation

Þér munk eðr, unz ǫðrum,
allvaldr, náir skǫldum,
— nær vættir þú þeirra? —
þingdjarfr, fyr kné hvarfa.
Braut komumk vér, þótt veitim
valtafn frekum hrafni,
— víksk eigi þat, vága
viggruðr — eða hér liggjum.

Munk eðr hvarfa fyr kné þér, þingdjarfr allvaldr, unz náir ǫðrum skǫldum; nær vættir þú þeirra? Vér komumk braut, þótt veitim valtafn frekum hrafni, eða liggjum hér; þat víksk eigi, {{vága vigg}ruðr}.
‘I shall still pace about before your knee, assembly-bold mighty ruler, until you get other skalds; when do you expect them? We shall come away even if we provide corpse-prey for the greedy raven, or we shall lie here; that will not fail, bush of the steed of the waves [(lit. ‘steed-bush of the waves’) SHIP > SEAFARER = Óláfr].

notes and context

In ÓH and Hkr, Þormóðr before the battle reiterates his determination to remain with King Óláfr, and he wonders aloud about the whereabouts of the king’s skald Sigvatr Þórðarson (who was at this time in Rome with Óttarr svarti). In ÓHLeg, the stanza follows Lv 19. In Fbr, the king responds briefly to the second helmingr of the preceding vísa (Lv 20/5-8; see Note to Lv 20/8), saying it is true that the men assembled will either come through the battle or lie here afterwards. Then the poet delivers the vísa (i.e. Lv 20/1-4 + 15/5-8).

In the mss of Fbr, ll. 5-8 are found instead as ll. 5-8 of Lv 19. In their place stand ll. 5-8 of Lv 15. Gaertner (1907, 341-2) seems to be alone in his belief that the arrangement in Fbr is correct. Certainly the arrangement in ÓH is correct if Finnur Jónsson is right that ok Finni is the original reading in Lv 15/6 (to which see the Note), as seems most probable. Finnur (1932-3) also points out that the clause in Lv 15/7-8 exhorting men to board ships is not pertinent to the present context, where seafaring is irrelevant.



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: Þórmóðr Bersason Kolbrúnarskáld, 2. Lausavísur 20: AI, 286-7, BI, 265, Skald I, 136; Fms 5, 61, Fms 12, 99, ÓH 1941, I, 548 (ch. 205), Flat 1860-8, II, 343-4; Hkr 1777-1826, II, 348, VI, 109, Hkr 1868, 478 (ÓHHkr ch. 220), Hkr 1893-1901, I, 464, IV, 164-5, ÍF 27, 363, Hkr 1991, II, 517 (ÓHHkr ch. 208); ÓHLeg 1849, 69, 119, ÓHLeg 1922, 84, ÓHLeg 1982, 194-5; Hb 1892-6, 412-13, Fbr 1852, 109, Fbr 1925-7, 208 (ch. 24), ÍF 6, 265, 264 (ch. 24), Loth 1960a, xlix, l, 155 (ch. 17), ÍS II, 841, 845-6 (ch. 24); Gaertner 1907, 312, 311, 344-5, 341-2, Finnur Jónsson 1932-3, 73-4.


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