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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Blakkr Breiðdr 1II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Blakkr, Breiðskeggsdrápa 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. 647-8.


text and translation

Bjǫrt kveða brenna kerti
Breiðskeggs yfir leiði;
ljóss veitk at mun missa
meir hǫfðingi þeira.
Vitumat vánir betri
— vér hugðumk því brugðit —
— þollr fekk illt með ǫllu
ǫrþings — af gǫrningum.

Kveða bjǫrt kerti brenna yfir leiði Breiðskeggs; veitk, at hǫfðingi þeira mun meir missa ljóss. Vitumat betri vánir af gǫrningum; vér hugðumk brugðit því; {þollr {ǫrþings}} fekk illt með ǫllu.
‘They say bright candles are burning above Breiðskeggr’s grave; I know that their chieftain may rather be lacking in light. We [I] do not know that he has better expectations from his undertakings; we [I] thought an end had been put to that; the tree of the arrow-assembly [BATTLE > WARRIOR] was wretched in all respects.

notes and context

Blakkr speaks out against the sanctity of Þorleifr Breiðskeggr.

[1-2]: These ll. recall st. 20/5, 6 of Einarr Skúlason’s Geisli (GeislVII): Síðan brann ljós yfir líki vísa ‘Then light burned over the body of the prince’. Thus it appears that Blakkr is deliberately ridiculing the ‘sanctity’ of Breiðskeggr by alluding to the miracles connected with the sanctity of S. Óláfr.



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: Blakkr, 1. Breiðskeggsdrápa 1: AI, 537, BI, 518, Skald I, 253; ÍF 30, 176 (ch. 116), Sv 1920, 122, Flat 1860-8, II, 636, E 1916, 364, Sv 1910-86, 152.


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