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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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BjHall Kálffl 4I

Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni gullbrárskáld Hallbjarnarson, Kálfsflokkr 4’ 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. 883.

Bjarni gullbrárskáld HallbjarnarsonKálfsflokkr
345

Engla ‘of the English’

englar (noun m.): English people

[1] Engla: Englands 61, 325V, Bb, Flat, Tóm

kennings

dróttni Engla
‘the lord of the English ’
   = Knútr

the lord of the English → Knútr

notes

[1] dróttni Engla ‘the lord of the English [= Knútr]’: Knútr reigned over England from 1016; see ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.

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dróttni ‘the lord’

dróttinn (noun m.; °dróttins, dat. dróttni (drottini [$1049$]); dróttnar): lord, master

[1] dróttni: dróttin Bb, dróttinn Flat

kennings

dróttni Engla
‘the lord of the English ’
   = Knútr

the lord of the English → Knútr

notes

[1] dróttni Engla ‘the lord of the English [= Knútr]’: Knútr reigned over England from 1016; see ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.

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ógn ‘battle’

ógn (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): terror, battle < ógnrakkr (adj.): battle-bold

kennings

ógnrakkr niðr jarls;
‘battle-bold descendant of a jarl; ’
   = Kálfr

battle-bold descendant of a jarl; → Kálfr
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rakkr ‘bold’

rakkr (adj.; °compar. -ari): bold < ógnrakkr (adj.): battle-bold

[2] ‑rakkr: ‑rakk Flat

kennings

ógnrakkr niðr jarls;
‘battle-bold descendant of a jarl; ’
   = Kálfr

battle-bold descendant of a jarl; → Kálfr
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gjafar ‘for gifts’

gjǫf (noun f.): gift

[2] gjafar: gjafir 321ˣ, Bæb, 68, 61, Flat, í guði 325VII

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þakka ‘to thank’

1. þakka (verb): thank

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jarls ‘of a jarl’

jarl (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): poet, earl

[3] jarls: ‘i’ 325VII, ok Bb

kennings

ógnrakkr niðr jarls;
‘battle-bold descendant of a jarl; ’
   = Kálfr

battle-bold descendant of a jarl; → Kálfr

notes

[3] niðr jarls ‘descendant of a jarl [= Kálfr]’: In a genealogy of Kálfr’s family, the Arnmœðlingar, attached to Fsk (ÍF 29, 371), his grandfather is referred to as ‘Arnmóðr jarl’. Kálfr himself is referred to in Hkr as a lendr maðr ‘landed man, district chieftain’ and a hǫfðingi ‘chieftain’.

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niðr ‘descendant’

1. niðr (noun m.; °-s; niðjar/niðir, acc. niði): son, kinsman, relative

[3] niðr: vinr 325V

kennings

ógnrakkr niðr jarls;
‘battle-bold descendant of a jarl; ’
   = Kálfr

battle-bold descendant of a jarl; → Kálfr

notes

[3] niðr jarls ‘descendant of a jarl [= Kálfr]’: In a genealogy of Kálfr’s family, the Arnmœðlingar, attached to Fsk (ÍF 29, 371), his grandfather is referred to as ‘Arnmóðr jarl’. Kálfr himself is referred to in Hkr as a lendr maðr ‘landed man, district chieftain’ and a hǫfðingi ‘chieftain’.

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komtu ‘advanced’

koma (verb; kem, kom/kvam, kominn): come

[3] komtu: so Bæb, 68, 325V, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm, Kˣ, ‘cotv’ Holm2, komt 321ˣ, ‘kottu’ 61

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ótála ‘you undoubtedly’

ótála (adv.): undoubtedly

notes

[4] ótála ‘undoubtedly’: See Note to st. 3/2 above.

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Þér ‘for you’

þú (pron.; °gen. þín, dat. þér, acc. þik): you

[5] Þér: ótála vel máli þér 321ˣ, þar Bb

notes

[5, 8] lét fold fundna þér ‘said that land was found for you’: On the basis of the stanza alone, the reference to ‘land’ being ‘found’ for Kálfr could be taken to mean the grant of an estate in England, but Kálfr’s departure from England, his defence of land in Norway against Óláfr in st. 5/1-2, and the prose context make it clear that the reference is to a promise of rule in Norway. The sense of lét remains elusive. The most obvious interpretation is ‘had (land found for you)’, and this would be compatible with the first helmingr. However, lét could mean ‘said’, and this is assumed here, resulting in a more cynical view of the sincerity of Knútr’s promises (cf. ÍF 27, 335 n. which has kvaðst hafa fundið ‘said he had found’). This accords with the statement about delay in l. 6 (see Note) and is spelt out clearly in the prose sources, e.g. in ÍF 27, 411 where Kálfr is said to regret the trap he had fallen into at Knútr’s urging, since all the promises he had made, including a jarldom and government over all Norway, had been broken.

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lét ‘said’

láta (verb): let, have sth done

notes

[5, 8] lét fold fundna þér ‘said that land was found for you’: On the basis of the stanza alone, the reference to ‘land’ being ‘found’ for Kálfr could be taken to mean the grant of an estate in England, but Kálfr’s departure from England, his defence of land in Norway against Óláfr in st. 5/1-2, and the prose context make it clear that the reference is to a promise of rule in Norway. The sense of lét remains elusive. The most obvious interpretation is ‘had (land found for you)’, and this would be compatible with the first helmingr. However, lét could mean ‘said’, and this is assumed here, resulting in a more cynical view of the sincerity of Knútr’s promises (cf. ÍF 27, 335 n. which has kvaðst hafa fundið ‘said he had found’). This accords with the statement about delay in l. 6 (see Note) and is spelt out clearly in the prose sources, e.g. in ÍF 27, 411 where Kálfr is said to regret the trap he had fallen into at Knútr’s urging, since all the promises he had made, including a jarldom and government over all Norway, had been broken.

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fold ‘that land’

fold (noun f.): land

[5] fold áðr: foldar Tóm

notes

[5, 8] lét fold fundna þér ‘said that land was found for you’: On the basis of the stanza alone, the reference to ‘land’ being ‘found’ for Kálfr could be taken to mean the grant of an estate in England, but Kálfr’s departure from England, his defence of land in Norway against Óláfr in st. 5/1-2, and the prose context make it clear that the reference is to a promise of rule in Norway. The sense of lét remains elusive. The most obvious interpretation is ‘had (land found for you)’, and this would be compatible with the first helmingr. However, lét could mean ‘said’, and this is assumed here, resulting in a more cynical view of the sincerity of Knútr’s promises (cf. ÍF 27, 335 n. which has kvaðst hafa fundið ‘said he had found’). This accords with the statement about delay in l. 6 (see Note) and is spelt out clearly in the prose sources, e.g. in ÍF 27, 411 where Kálfr is said to regret the trap he had fallen into at Knútr’s urging, since all the promises he had made, including a jarldom and government over all Norway, had been broken.

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áðr ‘before’

áðr (adv.; °//): before

[5] fold áðr: foldar Tóm

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fœrir ‘you travelled’

fara (verb; ferr, fór, fóru, farinn): go, travel

[5] fœrir: fœrit 325V, FskAˣ, 301ˣ, fœri Flat

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frest ‘delay’

2. frest (noun n.): time

notes

[6] frest urðu þess ‘there was delay in this’: I.e. in the fulfilment of Knútr’s promise of land. Frest is n. pl., hence the pl. verb urðu, lit. ‘were, came about’. Hkr 1893-1901, Skj B and Skald emend urðu to urðut, giving the opposite meaning ‘there was no delay in this’, in order to avoid the contradiction with the stanza’s statement that Kálfr did receive gifts from the king (see Hkr 1893-1901, IV). But the original reading could express an ironically understated comment that the king’s promises never materialised, or simply that conditions had to be met before the promised lands were handed over.

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urðu ‘there was’

1. verða (verb): become, be

notes

[6] frest urðu þess ‘there was delay in this’: I.e. in the fulfilment of Knútr’s promise of land. Frest is n. pl., hence the pl. verb urðu, lit. ‘were, came about’. Hkr 1893-1901, Skj B and Skald emend urðu to urðut, giving the opposite meaning ‘there was no delay in this’, in order to avoid the contradiction with the stanza’s statement that Kálfr did receive gifts from the king (see Hkr 1893-1901, IV). But the original reading could express an ironically understated comment that the king’s promises never materialised, or simply that conditions had to be met before the promised lands were handed over.

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þess ‘in this’

1. sá (pron.; °gen. þess, dat. þeim, acc. þann; f. sú, gen. þeirrar, acc. þá; n. þat, dat. því; pl. m. þeir, f. þǽ---): that (one), those

notes

[6] frest urðu þess ‘there was delay in this’: I.e. in the fulfilment of Knútr’s promise of land. Frest is n. pl., hence the pl. verb urðu, lit. ‘were, came about’. Hkr 1893-1901, Skj B and Skald emend urðu to urðut, giving the opposite meaning ‘there was no delay in this’, in order to avoid the contradiction with the stanza’s statement that Kálfr did receive gifts from the king (see Hkr 1893-1901, IV). But the original reading could express an ironically understated comment that the king’s promises never materialised, or simply that conditions had to be met before the promised lands were handed over.

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vestan ‘from the west’

vestan (prep.): from the west

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líf ‘your’

líf (noun n.; °-s; -): life

[7] líf: lið Bb, FskAˣ, 301ˣ

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þitt ‘life’

þinn (pron.; °f. þín, n. þitt): your

[7] þitt esa lítit: á lítli stundu FskAˣ, af litli stundu 301ˣ

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esa ‘is not’

2. vera (verb): be, is, was, were, are, am

[7] þitt esa lítit: á lítli stundu FskAˣ, af litli stundu 301ˣ;    esa (‘era’): ‘e(t)a’(?) 321ˣ

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lítit ‘insignificant’

lítill (adj.; °lítinn): little

[7] þitt esa lítit: á lítli stundu FskAˣ, af litli stundu 301ˣ

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Lundúna ‘of London’

Lundúnir (noun f.): [London]

[8] Lundúna: Lundúnu 61, 325VII, Bb

kennings

Gramr Lundúna
‘The lord of London ’
   = Knútr

The lord of London → Knútr
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gramr ‘The lord’

1. gramr (noun m.): ruler

kennings

Gramr Lundúna
‘The lord of London ’
   = Knútr

The lord of London → Knútr
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fundna ‘was found’

2. finna (verb): find, meet

[8] fundna: so 68, Kˣ, FskAˣ, 301ˣ, om. Holm2, snúnat 321ˣ, Bæb, fundit 61, 325V, Bb, Flat, fenginn 325VII, fundi Tóm

notes

[5, 8] lét fold fundna þér ‘said that land was found for you’: On the basis of the stanza alone, the reference to ‘land’ being ‘found’ for Kálfr could be taken to mean the grant of an estate in England, but Kálfr’s departure from England, his defence of land in Norway against Óláfr in st. 5/1-2, and the prose context make it clear that the reference is to a promise of rule in Norway. The sense of lét remains elusive. The most obvious interpretation is ‘had (land found for you)’, and this would be compatible with the first helmingr. However, lét could mean ‘said’, and this is assumed here, resulting in a more cynical view of the sincerity of Knútr’s promises (cf. ÍF 27, 335 n. which has kvaðst hafa fundið ‘said he had found’). This accords with the statement about delay in l. 6 (see Note) and is spelt out clearly in the prose sources, e.g. in ÍF 27, 411 where Kálfr is said to regret the trap he had fallen into at Knútr’s urging, since all the promises he had made, including a jarldom and government over all Norway, had been broken.

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

ÓH-Hkr relates that, on arrival at Knútr’s court, Kálfr is offered a future jarldom on his return to Norway and overall rule of the country in exchange for opposition to King Óláfr. The king gives him fine gifts when they part. For Fsk see Context to st. 3 and Note to [All] below.

Stanzas 3/5-8 and 4/5-8 form a unitary stanza in Fsk.  — [1, 3] áttu; komtu yðru ‘you have; you advanced your’: Unusually, the enclitic pron. -tu ‘you’ is syllabic, occupying a metrical position, in both these lines; átt and komt would have been expected. Also unusual is the switch from the grammatically sg., familiar 2nd pers. form komtu to the grammatically pl., formal form yðru ‘your’, since this occurs in consecutive words here, although such mixing of forms is not generally uncommon (cf. Note to st. 1/5).

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