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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bjbp Jóms 4I

Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 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. 962.

Bjarni byskup KolbeinssonJómsvíkingadrápa

text and translation

Varkak … und forsum;
fórk aldrigi at gǫldrum;

Ǫllungis namk eigi
Yggjar feng und hanga

fleinstríðir mér óðar.

Varkak … und forsum; fórk aldrigi at gǫldrum; hefkak … . Namk ǫllungis eigi {feng Yggjar} und hanga … {fleinstríðir} mér óðar.
‘I was not … under waterfalls; I never engaged in enchantments; I have not … . I did not at all learn the booty of Yggr <= Óðinn> [POETRY] under the hanged one … arrow-harmer [WARRIOR] … to me … of the poem …

notes and context

On the ordering of sts 2-5, see Introduction. Ms. 65ˣ (ll. 1-2 only) and the printed texts RCP and RFJ are used as supplementary witnesses to the R readings here; again see Introduction. Finnur Jónsson (RFJ, in Skj A II, 2) acknowledges relying on the RCP (af Petersens, in Jvs 1879) readings for this stanza, but has made out enough to believe them correct. From what can be ascertained from the poorly-preserved text, it seems that the poet continues his caricature of the opening of a traditional drápa (see Note to ll. 1-2 below). — [1-2]: The skald (who became a bishop, if the identification with Bjarni Kolbeinsson is correct), seems to distance himself from the traditional association of poetry with Óðinn and hence with magic. Although certainty is impossible given the state of the text, this would be supported by ll. 5-6 as read by Finnur Jónsson and af Petersens. — [5-6]: These lines are now illegible, but the RCP and RFJ readings above suggest that they refer to the myth of the mead of poetry (cf. Note to st. 1/6), again alluding to, yet rejecting, the association of poetry with Óðinn. Hangi can refer either to a hanged man or to Óðinn (LP: hangi), and the god is said both to have sat under hanged men (Yng, ÍF 26, 18) and to have hanged himself on a tree (Hávm 138-41); see also Haugen (1983); Schjødt (1993); Lassen (2010, 190-1).



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 Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 2: AII, 2, BII, 1, Skald II, 1; Fms 11, 164, Fms 12, 242, Jvs 1879, 104-5.


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