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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bót Lv 1II

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Bótólfr begla, Lausavísa 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. 629-30.

Bótólfr beglaLausavísa1

text and translation

Ferr at foglum harri
— firar neyta vel skeyta —
— vôn á heiðar hœna
hnakkadytts — und bakka.
Þar verðr almr, es olmir
undlinns stafir finnask
— land verr lofðungr brandi —
lynghœsn, dreginn kyngjum.

Harri ferr at foglum und bakka; firar neyta skeyta vel; {hœna heiðar} á vôn hnakkadytts. Almr verðr kyngjum dreginn þar, es {olmir stafir {undlinns}} [ok] {lynghœsn} finnask; lofðungr verr land brandi.
‘The lord has gone to hunt birds beneath the slopes; men are using shooting-weapons well; the chicken of the heath [GAME BIRD] has expectations of a neck-blow. The bow is being frequently drawn, where the frenzied poles of the wound-serpent [SWORD > WARRIORS] [and] the heather-chicken [GAME BIRD] meet; the prince defends the land with his sword.

notes and context

Erlendr Haraldsson, who has just seen off Haraldr Maddaðarson in a fight nearby, arrives at Knarrarstaðir where Rǫgnvaldr is staying with Bótólfr. When they ask where Rǫgnvaldr is, Bótólfr replies that he had been there the previous night and recites this st. when the troop insist that he must know where Rǫgnvaldr is. They head off to chase him and Rǫgnvaldr escapes.

This event takes place in 1154 (ÍF 34, lxxxix). Rǫgnvaldr has made common cause with his fellow jarl Haraldr Maddaðarson, while their rival Jarl Erlendr Haraldsson is supported by Sveinn Ásleifarson. While Erlendr and Sveinn plan an attack on both of the other jarls, Rǫgnvaldr slips away to his own estates during a storm. Erlendr defeats Haraldr the next day and then pursues Rǫgnvaldr. Bótólfr’s st. misleads the pursuers and gives Rǫgnvaldr a chance to escape.



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: Bótolfr begla, Lausavísa: AI, 532, BI, 513, Skald I, 251; Flat 1860-8, II, 499, Orkn 1887, 196, Orkn 1913-16, 286-7, ÍF 34, 258 (ch. 94), Bibire 1988, 239.


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