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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bersi Lv 1I

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Bersi Skáld-Torfuson, Lausavísa 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. 796.

Bersi Skáld-TorfusonLausavísa1

Sverð standa þar — sunda
sárs leyfum vér árar —
— herstillis verðr hylli
hollust — búin golli.
Við tœka ek, — víka,
vask endr með þér, sendir
elds — ef eitthvert vildir,
allvaldr, gefa skaldi.

Sverð standa þar búin golli; vér leyfum {árar {sunda sárs}}; hylli {herstillis} verðr hollust. Ek tœka við, ef vildir, allvaldr, gefa skaldi eitthvert; vask endr með þér, {sendir {elds víka}}.

Swords stand there decorated with gold; we [I] praise {the oars {of the bays of the wound}} [BLOOD > SWORDS]; the favour {of the army-commander} [RULER] becomes most gracious. I would accept, if you wished, mighty ruler, to give the skald [Bersi] something; I was with you formerly, {distributor {of the fire of inlets}} [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN].

Mss: (420v), J2ˣ(202v) (Hkr); Holm2(54v-55r), 972ˣ(403va), 321ˣ(193), 73aˣ(166v), 68(52r), Holm4(49rb), 61(114ra), 75c(35v), 325V(62rb), Flat(116va), Tóm(142r) (ÓH); Flat(187rb) (Flat); DG8(91r) (ÓHLeg); NRA52(3r) (ÓHÆ)

Readings: [1] þar: hér 972ˣ, 73aˣ, 68, Tóm, Flat(187rb), DG8, NRA52    [1, 2] sunda sárs leyfum vér árar: ‘sund[...]’ 75c    [3, 4] herstillis verðr hylli hollust: ‘[...]þ’ NRA52    [3] ‑stillis: ‑stilli Holm2, 61, ‘still’ with abbreviation mark 68;    verðr: þarf ek Holm2, 972ˣ, 321ˣ, Flat(187rb), DG8, væri 61    [4] hollust: ‘hellest’ 321ˣ, ‘bolluzt’ Tóm, ‘haull raud’ Flat(187rb), holl ráð DG8    [5] tœka ek: tœkum vér Tóm;    víka: víkja Tóm, ‘[...]a’ NRA52    [6] vask endr með þér sendir: ‘[...]’ 75c;    vask (‘var ec’): var Holm2, Flat(187rb), varð 321ˣ, vil ek 68, Flat(187rb), DG8, NRA52;    endr: enn 68, Flat(187rb), DG8, NRA52, endir Tóm;    sendir: kennir 68, Flat(187rb), DG8, NRA52    [7] elds: ‘el[...]’ 75c;    ef eitthvert vildir: ‘[...]ldir’ NRA52    [8] gefa: ‘ge[...]a’ NRA52;    skaldi: ‘skalld[...]’ 75c

Editions: Skj AI, 277, Skj BI, 256, Skald I, 132, NN §3070; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 383-4, IV, 150, ÍF 27, 296-7, Hkr 1991, II, 469 (ÓHHkr ch. 162); Fms 4, 378, Fms 12, 92, ÓH 1941, I, 459 (ch. 154), Flat 1860-8, II, 291; Fms 5, 233-4, Fms 12, 114, Flat 1860-8, III, 244, ÓH 1941, II, 690; ÓHLeg 1922, 57, ÓHLeg 1982, 132-3; ÓHÆ 1893, 7.

Context:

As noted above, the stanza is attributed to three different skalds. In ÓH-Hkr, Sigvatr is with King Óláfr when he visits the store of treasures he has assembled as Christmas gifts. Among these is a gold-decorated sword, which elicits the stanza from Sigvatr. The king gives him the sword, which becomes a source of envy. In ÓHÆ and ÓHLeg, a brief narrative explains that Óttarr uttered the stanza one day when present with King Óláfr in an upper room where there were many swords, hilts uppermost. After the stanza the king obliges with the gift of ‘the sword’ (suærðet). In Articulus 13 from Styrmir Kárason, interpolated into Flat (1860-8, III, 244), Bersi Skáld-Torfuson, ‘a good poet’, is slandered by others, who claim that he could not compose or recite anything not already recited. The king has a small room prepared with unsheathed swords and calls for Bersi, commissioning him to compose about the fact that the swords are upright (uppreist). Bersi does, and is given a fine sword.

Notes: [1] þar ‘there’: The variant hér ‘here’ is equally possible. — [4] hollust ‘most gracious’: The variants have a lexical element rather than the sup. ending ‑ust, and as the more complex readings may have more claim to authenticity. The readings in NRA52 and DG8 seem to point to hollrð ‘benign-counsel(led)’, and though not recorded elsewhere hollráðr is a plausible cpd, the antonym of illráðr ‘bad-counselled’ and comparable to stórráðr ‘great-counselled’ and harðráðr ‘harsh-counselled’ (NN §3070); it is printed in Skald. The variant in Flat(187rb), ‘haull raud’, would partially support holl ‘gracious’ and rauðbúin (golli) ‘red-decorated (with gold)’, which are printed in Skj B. — [6] vask endr með þér, sendir ‘I was with you formerly, distributor’: Again, the alternative is satisfactory: vil ek enn með þér, kennir ‘I want to stay with you, trier (of gold)’.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  7. ÓH 1941 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert and Jón Helgason, eds. 1941. Saga Óláfs konungs hins helga: Den store saga om Olav den hellige efter pergamenthåndskrift i Kungliga biblioteket i Stockholm nr. 2 4to med varianter fra andre håndskrifter. 2 vols. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 53. Oslo: Dybwad.
  8. ÓHLeg 1982 = Heinrichs, Anne et al., eds and trans. 1982. Olafs saga hins helga: Die ‘Legendarische Saga’ über Olaf den Heiligen (Hs. Delagard. saml. nr. 8II). Heidelberg: Winter.
  9. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  10. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  11. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  12. ÓHLeg 1922 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert, ed. 1922. Olafs saga hins helga efter pergamenthåndskrift i Uppsala Universitetsbibliotek, Delagardieske samling nr. 8II. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 47. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  13. ÓHÆ 1893 = Storm, Gustav, ed. 1893. Otte brudstykker af den ældste saga om Olav den Hellige. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfonds skrifter 25. Christiana (Oslo): Grøndahl.
  14. Internal references
  15. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  16. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Biography of) Bersi Skáld-Torfuson’ 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. 789.
  17. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Legendary Saga of S. Óláfr / Helgisaga Óláfs konungs Haraldssonar (ÓHLeg)’ 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. clxxiii.
  18. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Flateyjarbók (Flat)’ 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, pp. clxi-clxii.
  19. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Separate Saga of S. Óláfr / Óláfs saga helga in sérstaka (ÓH)’ 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, pp. clxxvi-clxxix.
  20. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)
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