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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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BjHall Kálffl 3I

Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni gullbrárskáld Hallbjarnarson, Kálfsflokkr 3’ 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. 882.

Bjarni gullbrárskáld HallbjarnarsonKálfsflokkr

text and translation

Austr réð allvaldr rísta
ótála haf stáli;
varð at vitja Garða
vígmóðr Haralds bróðir.
Enn of íðnir manna
emkak tamr at samna
skrǫkvi; at skilnað ykkarn
skjótt lézt Knút of sóttan.

Allvaldr réð ótála rísta haf austr stáli; {vígmóðr bróðir Haralds} varð at vitja Garða. Enn emkak tamr at samna skrǫkvi of íðnir manna; at skilnað ykkarn lézt skjótt Knút of sóttan.
‘The mighty ruler undoubtedly set about carving the ocean eastwards with the prow; the battle-weary brother of Haraldr [= Óláfr] had to make his way to Russia. But I am not ready to gather false stories about people’s actions; after your parting you quickly went to seek out Knútr.

notes and context

In ÓH-Hkr, King Óláfr has gone into exile in Russia, and Kálfr has sworn allegiance to King Óláfr’s opponent Hákon jarl (ÓH 1941, I, 500, 505; ÍF 27, 328, 332). The following spring, Kálfr sails to England to join King Knútr, who has just arrived there from Denmark. The more concise Fsk narrative reaches a slightly later point, where Knútr promises Kálfr authority in Norway, before the stanza is cited (and see Note to [All] below).

Stanzas 3/5-8 and 4/5-8 form a unitary stanza in Fsk. — [7] skrǫkvi; at skilnað ykkarn: It is necessary to assume elision of skrǫkvi at here, to produce a regular line of six syllables, but elision does not normally cross syntactic boundaries in skaldic poetry before the thirteenth century, and it is possible that the original reading was acc. skrǫk rather than dat. skrǫkvi, though no ms. has this form.



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 3: AI, 394, BI, 363, Skald I, 182Fms 5, 31Fms 12, 97ÓH 1941, I, 507 (ch. 179), Flat 1860-8, II, 318; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 426, IV, 161, ÍF 27, 334, Hkr 1991, II, 496 (ÓHHkr ch. 183); Fsk 1902-3, 180 (ch. 28), ÍF 29, 198-9 (ch. 34).


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