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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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BjHall Kálffl 1I

Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni gullbrárskáld Hallbjarnarson, Kálfsflokkr 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. 879.

Bjarni gullbrárskáld HallbjarnarsonKálfsflokkr

text and translation

Vast, þars vígs bað kosta
vápndjarfr Haralds arfi,
— kynnisk kapp þitt mǫnnum —
Kalfr, við Bókn austr sjalfa.
Gôtuð Gríðar sóta
gólig fǫng til jóla;
kenndr vast fyrstr at fundi
flettugrjóts ok spjóta.

Kalfr, vast austr við Bókn sjalfa, þars {vápndjarfr arfi Haralds} bað kosta vígs; kapp þitt kynnisk mǫnnum. Gôtuð {sóta Gríðar} gólig fǫng til jóla; vast kenndr fyrstr at {fundi flettugrjóts ok spjóta}.
‘Kálfr, you were east off Bokn itself, where the weapon-bold heir of Haraldr [= Óláfr] commanded battle to be waged; your bravery becomes known to men. You provided the steed of Gríðr <giantess> [WOLF] with splendid provisions for Christmas; you were seen to be first at the meeting of split stone and of spears [BATTLE].

notes and context

In ÓH-Hkr, King Óláfr heads north after the death of Erlingr Skjálgsson at Bókn (Bokn). He has learned of an uprising from Agðir, Rogaland and Hǫrðaland (Agder, Rogaland and Hordaland) but is supported by chieftains including the Árnasynir; this and st. 2 are cited as evidence of their support. In Fsk the context is briefer but the purpose of the citation similar. 

Stanzas 1/1-4 and 2/3-6 form a unitary stanza in Fsk. — [2]: The FskAˣ reading vinreifr með Ôleifi ‘friend-happy with Óláfr’ seems to be a version of st. 5/2 vígreifr fyr Ôleifi and is unlikely to be the more original reading.



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 Hallbjarnarson gullbrárskáld, Kalfsflokkr 1: AI, 393-4, BI, 363, Skald I, 181; Fms 5, 17, Fms 12, 96, ÓH 1941, I, 487 (ch. 173), Flat 1860-8, II, 311; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 409, IV, 158, ÍF 27, 320-1, Hkr 1991, II, 486-7 (ÓHHkr ch. 177); Fsk 1902-3, 176 (ch. 28), ÍF 29, 195-6 (ch. 33).


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