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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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BjHall Kálffl 8I

Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni gullbrárskáld Hallbjarnarson, Kálfsflokkr 8’ 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. 889.

Bjarni gullbrárskáld HallbjarnarsonKálfsflokkr

text and translation

Frôgum, Finns hvé mági
fylgðuð, Kalfr, of dylgjur,
ok lézt á sæ snekkjur
snarla lagt at jarli.
Áræði vannt eyða
óðfúss sonar Brúsa
— hléði hugr — en téðuð
heiptminnigr Þórfinni.

Frôgum, Kalfr, hvé fylgðuð {mági Finns} of dylgjur, ok lézt snarla lagt snekkjur at jarli á sæ. Vannt eyða áræði {óðfúss sonar Brúsa}, en téðuð heiptminnigr Þórfinni; hugr hléði.
‘We [I] have heard, Kálfr, how you followed the son-in-law of Finnr [= Þorfinnr Sigurðarson] into battle, and quickly had warships steered against the jarl [Rǫgnvaldr Brúsason] at sea. You succeeded in destroying the attack of the ragingly eager son of Brúsi [= Rǫgnvaldr] and, intent on hostility, you supported Þorfinnr; your courage protected [you].

notes and context

In Orkn ch. 26, the context is the sea-battle of Rauðabjǫrg (probably Roberry) between the joint jarls of Orkney, Þorfinnr Sigurðarson and his nephew Rǫgnvaldr Brúsason. Kálfr is present with six large ships but at first holds back because of divided loyalties: King Magnús has offered to restore his estates in Norway if he supports Rǫgnvaldr, but Þorfinnr is related to Kálfr by marriage, and makes a persuasive speech after which Kálfr orders his men to join battle on Þorfinnr’s side. The stanza is repeated in Flat, along with Arn Þorfdr 19II, 20II and 24II, in a strangely inappropriate context at the end of Orkn ch. 56, which deals with Þorfinnr’s son Páll. The context in ÓH is a compressed account of the events of Orkn, and refers implicitly to a version of Orkn as a source: oc er fra þvi laung saga ‘and there is a long saga about that’.

The battle of Rauðabjǫrg, fought in the Pentland Firth c. 1044, is also commemorated in Arn Lv 1II and Arn Þorfdr 19-22II. On the identification of the site, see Note to Arn Þorfdr 20/8II. — [6] óðfúss sonar Brúsa ‘of the ragingly eager son of Brúsi [= Rǫgnvaldr]’: On Rǫgnvaldr jarl Brúsason, see Arn RǫgndrII and SkP II, xciv-xcv. The reading of Flat, ófúss syni Brúsa, is likely to be influenced by the identical line Arn Lv 1/4II; that stanza immediately precedes Bjarni’s in Orkn.



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 8: AI, 396, BI, 365, Skald I, 182ÓH 1941, I, 639, ÍF 27, 449 (ch. 270); Orkn 1913-16, 71, 131 n., ÍF 34, 67-8, 122 n. 2 (chs 26, 56; stanza not printed at repeat). 


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