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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bjbp Jóms 15I

Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 15’ 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. 972.

Bjarni byskup KolbeinssonJómsvíkingadrápa

Ein drepr fyr mér allri
— ótrauðr á lǫg skeiðum
ǫrr þengill bað ýta —
ítrmanns kona teiti.
Góð ætt of kemr grimmu
— gekk herr á skip, darra
hinn er kunni gný gerva —
gœðings at mér stríði.

Ein kona ítrmanns drepr allri teiti fyr mér; ótrauðr ǫrr þengill bað ýta skeiðum á lǫg. Góð ætt gœðings of kemr grimmu stríði at mér; herr, hinn er kunni gerva {gný darra}, gekk á skip.

A certain nobleman’s wife kills all joy for me; the not-unwilling swift prince [Vagn] ordered ships to be launched onto the sea. The good kinswoman of a chieftain brings cruel torment upon me; the army, which knew how to make {the din of spears} [BATTLE], went aboard the ships.

Mss: R(53v)

Editions: Skj AII, 4, Skj BII, 4, Skald II, 3; Fms 11, 167, Fms 12, 243, Jvs 1879, 108-9.

Notes: [All]: This is the first appearance of the drápa’s stef; see Introduction. — [1] drepr ‘kills’: Although the pain the woman inflicts on the poet is abstract, the choice of verb points a parallel with the physical death and destruction waged by the Jómsvíkingar. — [4] kona ítrmanns ‘nobleman’s wife’: The marital status of the longed-for woman is not disclosed until this point; she is also of good descent (ll. 5, 8). Passionate admiration or love for an unobtainable woman is one of the staple themes of medieval French troubadour poetry (and romance more generally) and it is found in Old Norse poetry and prose from at least the C12th, though scholars have held differing opinions as to whether the love-theme in Old Norse owes its existence to direct influence from troubadour poetry (Andersson 1969; Bjarni Einarsson 1971; Finlay 1995).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Andersson, Theodore M. 1969. ‘Skalds and Troubadours’. MS 2, 7-41.
  5. Bjarni Einarsson. 1971. ‘A Lovesick Skald’. MS 4, 21-41.
  6. Finlay, Alison. 1995. ‘Skalds, Troubadours and Sagas’. SBVS 24, 105-53.
  7. Jvs 1879 = Petersens, Carl af, ed. 1879. Jómsvíkinga saga (efter Cod. AM. 510, 4:to) samt Jómsvíkinga drápa. Lund: Gleerup.

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