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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.

BlakkrBreiðskeggsdrápa
12

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.

Mss: 8(13r), 327(59v) (ll. 1-6), Flat(156va) (ll. 1-6), E(105v) (ll. 1-6), 81a(34ra) (ll. 1-6), 325VIII 4 a(1vb) (ll. 1-6) (Sv)

Readings: [3] ljóss: ljós all others    [4] meir hǫfðingi þeira: meiri þǫrf ok þeira 81a    [6] hugðumk: hugðusk E, hugðum 325VIII 4 a;    brugðit: so Flat, brugðumsk 8, 81a, brugðusk 327, E, 325VIII 4 a

Editions: Skj AI, 537, Skj 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.

Context: Blakkr speaks out against the sanctity of Þorleifr Breiðskeggr.

Notes: [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. — [4] meir (adv.) ‘rather’: This adv. can mean ‘rather, later, still’ (see Fritzner: meirr). Skj B translates it as senere ‘later’ and takes it to mean that Breiðskeggr will be deprived of heavenly light in the after-life. That interpretation is possible (referring to the impending Judgement day when Breiðskeggr will miss out on eternal life and go to the place of darkness). Alternatively, since he is already dead, the cl. can also refer to the fact that there is no light at the place he is currently (namely, in hell), and that is the interpretation adopted in the present edn. — [6] vér hugðumk brugðit því ‘we [I] thought an end had been put to that’: I.e. an end to the talk about Breiðskeggr’s sanctity.

References

  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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  5. 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.
  6. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  7. ÍF 30 = Sverris saga. Ed. Þorleifur Hauksson. 2007.
  8. Sv 1910-86 = Kjær, Albert and Ludvig Holm-Olsen, eds. 1910-86. Det Arnamagnæanske haandskrift 81a fol. (Skálholtsbók yngsta) indeholdende Sverris saga, Bǫglungasǫgur, Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar. Oslo: Den norske historiske kildeskriftkommission and Kjeldeskriftfondet.
  9. Internal references
  10. Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘(Biography of) Einarr Skúlason’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 140.
  11. Not published: do not cite (MberfII)
  12. Martin Chase 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr Skúlason, Geisli’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 5-65.
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