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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bjbp Jóms 13I

Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 13’ 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. 970.

Bjarni byskup KolbeinssonJómsvíkingadrápa

Búi lézk barr at fylgja
bǫðmildum Sigvalda
til hjǫrþrymu harðrar
hugprúðr vera síðan.
Hafa kvazk Hávarð vilja
hranna brjótr at gunni;
sér kvað hann eigi illa
Áslák í fǫr líka.

Síðan lézk hugprúðr Búi vera barr at fylgja bǫðmildum Sigvalda til {harðrar hjǫrþrymu}. {Brjótr hranna} kvazk hafa vilja Hávarð at gunni; hann kvað Áslák líka sér eigi illa í fǫr.

Courageous Búi then said he was ready to follow battle-liberal Sigvaldi into {hard sword-thunder} [BATTLE]. {The breaker of waves} [SEAFARER = Búi] said he wanted to have Hávarðr for the battle; he said Áslákr was not unpleasing to him on the journey.

Mss: R(53v)

Editions: Skj AII, 4, Skj BII, 3-4, Skald II, 2, NN §3255; Fms 11, 166, Fms 12, 243, Jvs 1879, 108-9, 132.

Notes: [2] bǫðmildum ‘battle-liberal’: This echoes heiptmildan ‘strife-liberal’, also describing Sigvaldi, in st. 12/2. — [5, 8] Hávarð; Áslák ‘Hávarðr; Áslákr’: Hávarðr hǫggvandi ‘Hewer’ and Áslákr hólmskalli ‘Island-Baldhead’ are said in Jvs (1879, 32) to have been obtained as war-captives by Sigvaldi and Þorkell, sons of Strút-Haraldr, during an expedition to the east (i Austur-ueg), and are described as big, strong men, unyielding and valiant. Presumably it is on this account that Sigvaldi thinks the men will be useful on their expedition. They are portrayed fighting fiercely in st. 26, but are overcome in st. 34. Hólm- ‘Island’ in Áslákr’s nickname could refer specifically to a duelling-ground (Fritzner: holmr 2). — [6] brjótr hranna ‘the breaker of waves [SEAFARER = Búi]’: The kenning clearly refers to Búi but appears to be incomplete. One would expect hranna ‘of waves’ to be part of a kenning such as ‘fire of the waves [GOLD]’, which would form a kenning for ‘generous man’ with brjótr ‘breaker, distributor’ (cf. Meissner 330-1). However, in this context brjótr seems to refer simply to cleaving the waves, and the kenning could refer to Búi as a seafaring warrior from the Baltic (cf. the Skj B translation vikingen ‘the viking’), or could possibly allude to him as a swimmer, famed for leaping from his ship once defeat is inevitable; see Note to st. 26/2 and sts 36-7 and for a possible precedent for a kenning for ‘swimmer’, see Note to Eyv Lv 4/7, 8. — [7] hann kvað ‘he said’: Hann is extrametrical. It is possible that it should be removed by normalisation, as is often the case in ms. texts of earlier poetry, but since the metre of Jóms is frequently irregular it is retained here. — [7, 8] líka sér eigi illa ‘was not unpleasing to him’: Lit. ‘to please him not badly’.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  7. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  8. Jvs 1879 = Petersens, Carl af, ed. 1879. Jómsvíkinga saga (efter Cod. AM. 510, 4:to) samt Jómsvíkinga drápa. Lund: Gleerup.
  9. Internal references
  10. Emily Lethbridge 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa’ 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. 954.
  11. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur 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. 219.

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