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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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BjKálfs Lv 1II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Bjarni Kálfsson, Lausavísa 1’ 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, pp. 639-40.

Bjarni KálfssonLausavísa1

text and translation

Fant sék hvern á hesti,
— hérs nú siðr inn vesti —
— leið eigum vér langa —
en lendir menn ganga.
Hirðmenn skulu hlaupa,
— hér esat gótt til kaupa —
— munkak mǫrgu kvíða —
en matsveinar ríða.

Sék hvern fant á hesti, en lendir menn ganga; hérs nú inn vesti siðr; vér eigum langa leið. Hirðmenn skulu hlaupa, en matsveinar ríða; hér esat gótt til kaupa; munkak kvíða mǫrgu.
‘I see every servant on a horse and the district chieftains are walking; now here’s the worst habit; we have a long way [to go]. The retainers must run and the cooks are riding; there is no good bargain here; I’m not going to fear much.

notes and context

In February 1182, Magnús Erlingsson makes another surprise attack on Sverrir Sigurðarson’s garrison in Trondheim (see HSn Lv 1-2 above), and those of Sverrir’s men who are able to escape from the stronghold are forced to regroup and flee south on foot. Sverrir is en route north from Oslo on horseback with the rest of his troops when he meets those who fled from Trondheim in the mountains at Hjerkinn (Dovre). The soldiers in Sverrir’s army taunt the men from Trondheim and refuse to give up their horses. Bjarni, who is among the refugees, responds to the situation with this st.



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 Kálfsson, 1. Lausavísa: AI, 536-7, BI, 517, Skald I, 253; ÍF 30, 107 (ch. 68), Sv 1920, 75, Flat 1860-8, II, 596, E 1916, 320, Sv 1910-86, 89.


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