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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hókr Eirfl 3I

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2012, ‘Halldórr ókristni, Eiríksflokkr 3’ 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. 475.

Halldórr ókristniEiríksflokkr
234

Fjǫrð ‘Last year’

fjorð (adv.): last year

[1] Fjǫrð: ferð 53, Flat, 310

notes

[1] fjǫrð … harða ‘last year … harsh [trial]’: (a) The present edn follows ÍF 26 and ÍF 29 and assumes a suppressed noun raun (f. acc. sg.), lit. ‘trial, test’, after the adj. harða (f. acc. sg.) ‘hard, harsh’. The adv. fjǫrð is not unproblematic. ONP: fjǫrð gives nine citations of the word, the earliest from 1316, but it is unequivocally attested in C11th skaldic poetry (see Note to ÞjóðA Magn 13/1II and LP: fjǫrð), and there are other possible poetic occurrences of the word as well (see Notes to Eyv Lv 14/2 and Bragi Lv 1a/8IV). (b) Skj B and Skald adopt the reading of the ÓT and ÓTOdd mss, harðan (m. acc. sg.), which they construe with fjǫrð (m. acc. sg.), taken as the noun meaning ‘fjord’ rather than as the adv. fjǫrð ‘last year’, hence Ormr inn langi kom í harðan fjǫrð lit. ‘Ormr inn langi came into a harsh fjord’, i.e. ‘in a difficult position’. That interpretation is also possible, but all Hkr mss and FskAˣ have harða and harðan looks like a lectio facilior. Cf. also fjǫrð ‘last year’ (st. 5/3) and Introduction above.

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heldr ‘a rather’

heldr (adv.): rather

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harða ‘harsh [trial]’

harðr (adj.; °comp. -ari; superl. -astr): hard, harsh

[1] harða: harðan 53, 54, Bb, Flat, Holm18, 310, 4‑7

notes

[1] fjǫrð … harða ‘last year … harsh [trial]’: (a) The present edn follows ÍF 26 and ÍF 29 and assumes a suppressed noun raun (f. acc. sg.), lit. ‘trial, test’, after the adj. harða (f. acc. sg.) ‘hard, harsh’. The adv. fjǫrð is not unproblematic. ONP: fjǫrð gives nine citations of the word, the earliest from 1316, but it is unequivocally attested in C11th skaldic poetry (see Note to ÞjóðA Magn 13/1II and LP: fjǫrð), and there are other possible poetic occurrences of the word as well (see Notes to Eyv Lv 14/2 and Bragi Lv 1a/8IV). (b) Skj B and Skald adopt the reading of the ÓT and ÓTOdd mss, harðan (m. acc. sg.), which they construe with fjǫrð (m. acc. sg.), taken as the noun meaning ‘fjord’ rather than as the adv. fjǫrð ‘last year’, hence Ormr inn langi kom í harðan fjǫrð lit. ‘Ormr inn langi came into a harsh fjord’, i.e. ‘in a difficult position’. That interpretation is also possible, but all Hkr mss and FskAˣ have harða and harðan looks like a lectio facilior. Cf. also fjǫrð ‘last year’ (st. 5/3) and Introduction above.

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hnitu ‘crashed’

hnita (verb): [crashed]

[2] hnitu: hnigu F, Holm18, 4‑7, ‘[…]’ 325VIII 1, hitta 54, hina Bb

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reyr ‘reeds’

2. reyr (noun n.): reed

[2] reyr: ‘reyrv’ Bb

kennings

reyr dreyra
‘reeds of gore ’
   = SWORDS

reeds of gore → SWORDS

notes

[2] reyr dreyra ‘reeds of gore [SWORDS]’: Taken here as a kenning for ‘swords’ with reyr (n. nom. pl.) ‘reeds’ as the base-word (so also LP: 1. reyr and ÍF 29, and cf. KormǪ Lv 50/6V (Korm 71); ÍF 26 translates it as vopn ‘weapons’). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) gives the referent pilene ‘the arrows’, which is also possible, but the prose of Hkr specifies that the battle was a hǫggorrosta lit. ‘blow-battle’, i.e. hand to hand fighting with swords, axes and halberds.

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saman ‘together’

saman (adv.): together

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dreyra ‘of gore’

dreyri (noun m.; °-a): blood

kennings

reyr dreyra
‘reeds of gore ’
   = SWORDS

reeds of gore → SWORDS

notes

[2] reyr dreyra ‘reeds of gore [SWORDS]’: Taken here as a kenning for ‘swords’ with reyr (n. nom. pl.) ‘reeds’ as the base-word (so also LP: 1. reyr and ÍF 29, and cf. KormǪ Lv 50/6V (Korm 71); ÍF 26 translates it as vopn ‘weapons’). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) gives the referent pilene ‘the arrows’, which is also possible, but the prose of Hkr specifies that the battle was a hǫggorrosta lit. ‘blow-battle’, i.e. hand to hand fighting with swords, axes and halberds.

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tungl ‘moons’

tungl (noun n.; °-s; -): heavenly body

kennings

tungl tangar tingla
‘moons of the tongs of prow-boards ’
   = SHIELDS

moons of the tongs of prow-boards → SHIELDS

notes

[3-4] tungl tangar tingla ‘moons of the tongs of prow-boards [SHIELDS]’: This is clearly a shield-kenning, but the exact meaning of tǫng tingla ‘the tongs of prow-boards’ is debated. Tingl ‘prow-boards’ were two boards at the prow of a ship, which could be engraved or decorated (see Gsind Hákdr 2/3, Jór Send 4/3, Note to Þhorn Harkv 7/8 and Jesch 2001a, 148-9). The ‘tongs’ of these plates could have been the wooden pieces that surrounded the prow-boards (see Falk 1912, 43-4; Jesch 2001a, 148). The rhyming and alliterating words tungl and tingl are also found in Jór Send 4/3.

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skôrusk ‘were cut’

skera (verb): cut

[3] skôrusk: corrected from ‘skarðz’ Bb

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þá ‘then’

2. þá (adv.): then

[3] þá: þar 53, 54, Bb, Flat, 310

notes

[3] þá ‘then’: The adv. þar ‘there’ (so 53, 54, Bb, Flat, 310) is an equally good reading.

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tingla ‘of prow-boards’

tingl (noun n.): prow-board

[3] tingla: ‘[…]’ 325VIII 1

kennings

tungl tangar tingla
‘moons of the tongs of prow-boards ’
   = SHIELDS

moons of the tongs of prow-boards → SHIELDS

notes

[3-4] tungl tangar tingla ‘moons of the tongs of prow-boards [SHIELDS]’: This is clearly a shield-kenning, but the exact meaning of tǫng tingla ‘the tongs of prow-boards’ is debated. Tingl ‘prow-boards’ were two boards at the prow of a ship, which could be engraved or decorated (see Gsind Hákdr 2/3, Jór Send 4/3, Note to Þhorn Harkv 7/8 and Jesch 2001a, 148-9). The ‘tongs’ of these plates could have been the wooden pieces that surrounded the prow-boards (see Falk 1912, 43-4; Jesch 2001a, 148). The rhyming and alliterating words tungl and tingl are also found in Jór Send 4/3.

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tangri ‘’

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tangar ‘of the tongs’

tǫng (noun f.; °tangar, dat. -u/-; tengr/tangir): tongs

[4] tangar: ‘tangri’ 54, tangi Bb

kennings

tungl tangar tingla
‘moons of the tongs of prow-boards ’
   = SHIELDS

moons of the tongs of prow-boards → SHIELDS

notes

[3-4] tungl tangar tingla ‘moons of the tongs of prow-boards [SHIELDS]’: This is clearly a shield-kenning, but the exact meaning of tǫng tingla ‘the tongs of prow-boards’ is debated. Tingl ‘prow-boards’ were two boards at the prow of a ship, which could be engraved or decorated (see Gsind Hákdr 2/3, Jór Send 4/3, Note to Þhorn Harkv 7/8 and Jesch 2001a, 148-9). The ‘tongs’ of these plates could have been the wooden pieces that surrounded the prow-boards (see Falk 1912, 43-4; Jesch 2001a, 148). The rhyming and alliterating words tungl and tingl are also found in Jór Send 4/3.

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Ormr ‘Ormr’

ormr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): serpent

[4] Ormr inn langi: orminn langa J1ˣ, J2ˣ, Holm18, 4‑7

notes

[4] Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’): Óláfr Tryggvason’s famous warship and the focus of attention in the present poem. The phrase reappears in stef-like fashion in sts 4/4, 5/8 and 8/4 (see Introduction). Hkr (ÍF 26, 336) describes the ship as follows: Á Orminum langa váru fjǫgur rúm ok þrír tigir. Hǫfuðin ok krókrinn var allt gullbúit. Svá váru há borðin sem á hafskip. Þat hefir skip verit bezt gǫrt ok með mestum kostnaði í Nóregi ‘There were thirty-four rowing stations on Ormr inn langi. The heads and the curved stem and stern were all adorned with gold. The sides were as high as on an ocean-going ship. That was the best-made and mostly costly ship ever to be built in Norway’. The name Ormr appears frequently in skaldic poetry, both directly and through word-play: see Note to Hfr ErfÓl 10/1.

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inn ‘inn’

2. inn (art.): the

[4] Ormr inn langi: orminn langa J1ˣ, J2ˣ, Holm18, 4‑7

notes

[4] Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’): Óláfr Tryggvason’s famous warship and the focus of attention in the present poem. The phrase reappears in stef-like fashion in sts 4/4, 5/8 and 8/4 (see Introduction). Hkr (ÍF 26, 336) describes the ship as follows: Á Orminum langa váru fjǫgur rúm ok þrír tigir. Hǫfuðin ok krókrinn var allt gullbúit. Svá váru há borðin sem á hafskip. Þat hefir skip verit bezt gǫrt ok með mestum kostnaði í Nóregi ‘There were thirty-four rowing stations on Ormr inn langi. The heads and the curved stem and stern were all adorned with gold. The sides were as high as on an ocean-going ship. That was the best-made and mostly costly ship ever to be built in Norway’. The name Ormr appears frequently in skaldic poetry, both directly and through word-play: see Note to Hfr ErfÓl 10/1.

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langi ‘langi (‘the Long Serpent’)’

langr (adj.; °compar. lengri, superl. lengstr): long

[4] Ormr inn langi: orminn langa J1ˣ, J2ˣ, Holm18, 4‑7

notes

[4] Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’): Óláfr Tryggvason’s famous warship and the focus of attention in the present poem. The phrase reappears in stef-like fashion in sts 4/4, 5/8 and 8/4 (see Introduction). Hkr (ÍF 26, 336) describes the ship as follows: Á Orminum langa váru fjǫgur rúm ok þrír tigir. Hǫfuðin ok krókrinn var allt gullbúit. Svá váru há borðin sem á hafskip. Þat hefir skip verit bezt gǫrt ok með mestum kostnaði í Nóregi ‘There were thirty-four rowing stations on Ormr inn langi. The heads and the curved stem and stern were all adorned with gold. The sides were as high as on an ocean-going ship. That was the best-made and mostly costly ship ever to be built in Norway’. The name Ormr appears frequently in skaldic poetry, both directly and through word-play: see Note to Hfr ErfÓl 10/1.

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þás ‘when’

þás (conj.): when

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borð ‘the high’

borð (noun n.; °-s; -): side, plank, board; table < borðmikill (adj.): °(of a ship) with a high freeboard, with high sides

notes

[5] borðmikinn Barða ‘the high-sided Barði (“Prow”)’: Barði, a derivative of barð ‘prow, stem’, is also recorded as a ship-heiti in Þul Skipa 3/3III. Eiríkr jarl’s ship was variously called Barði or Járnbarði(nn) ‘(the) Iron-prow’, which could indicate that the stem had been fortified for ramming (so Falk 1912, 43-4; but see Jesch 2001a, 159). Cf. the (probably unhistorical) description of this ship in Flat 1860-8, I, 481: þar var skegg a ofanverdu bardinu huorotueggia en nidr fra skegginu iarnnspaung breid ok þykk sem bardit ok tok allt j sio ofan ‘There was a beak on top of the prow on both sides and down from the beak an iron rod as broad and thick as the prow and it went all the way down into the sea’. See also Note to Þul Skipa 3/3III. The rhyming and alliterating pair borð- and barð- is also found (in identical positions) in Bragi Þórr 4/1III and Eskál Lv 2b/3V (Eg 125).

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mikinn ‘sided’

mikill (adj.; °mikinn): great, large < borðmikill (adj.): °(of a ship) with a high freeboard, with high sides

[5] ‑mikinn: mikin J1ˣ, J2ˣ, Bb, 4‑7, ‘‑miki[…]’ 325VIII 1, mikil FskAˣ

notes

[5] borðmikinn Barða ‘the high-sided Barði (“Prow”)’: Barði, a derivative of barð ‘prow, stem’, is also recorded as a ship-heiti in Þul Skipa 3/3III. Eiríkr jarl’s ship was variously called Barði or Járnbarði(nn) ‘(the) Iron-prow’, which could indicate that the stem had been fortified for ramming (so Falk 1912, 43-4; but see Jesch 2001a, 159). Cf. the (probably unhistorical) description of this ship in Flat 1860-8, I, 481: þar var skegg a ofanverdu bardinu huorotueggia en nidr fra skegginu iarnnspaung breid ok þykk sem bardit ok tok allt j sio ofan ‘There was a beak on top of the prow on both sides and down from the beak an iron rod as broad and thick as the prow and it went all the way down into the sea’. See also Note to Þul Skipa 3/3III. The rhyming and alliterating pair borð- and barð- is also found (in identical positions) in Bragi Þórr 4/1III and Eskál Lv 2b/3V (Eg 125).

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Barða ‘Barði (‘Prow’)’

barð (noun n.): prow, stern (of a ship)

[5] Barða: ‘[…]’ 325VIII 1

notes

[5] borðmikinn Barða ‘the high-sided Barði (“Prow”)’: Barði, a derivative of barð ‘prow, stem’, is also recorded as a ship-heiti in Þul Skipa 3/3III. Eiríkr jarl’s ship was variously called Barði or Járnbarði(nn) ‘(the) Iron-prow’, which could indicate that the stem had been fortified for ramming (so Falk 1912, 43-4; but see Jesch 2001a, 159). Cf. the (probably unhistorical) description of this ship in Flat 1860-8, I, 481: þar var skegg a ofanverdu bardinu huorotueggia en nidr fra skegginu iarnnspaung breid ok þykk sem bardit ok tok allt j sio ofan ‘There was a beak on top of the prow on both sides and down from the beak an iron rod as broad and thick as the prow and it went all the way down into the sea’. See also Note to Þul Skipa 3/3III. The rhyming and alliterating pair borð- and barð- is also found (in identical positions) in Bragi Þórr 4/1III and Eskál Lv 2b/3V (Eg 125).

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bryn ‘of the byrnie-’

1. brynja (noun f.; °-u (dat. brynnoni Gibb 38⁹); -ur): mailcoat < brynflagð (noun n.)1. brynja (noun f.; °-u (dat. brynnoni Gibb 38⁹); -ur): mailcoat < brynflag (noun n.): byrnie-spot/hole(?)

[6] bryn‑: brim‑ 54, Bb

kennings

Reginn brynflagðs
‘the Reginn of the byrnie-troll-woman ’
   = WARRIOR = Eiríkr

the byrnie-troll-woman → AXE
the Reginn of the AXE → WARRIOR = Eiríkr
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bryn ‘of the byrnie-’

1. brynja (noun f.; °-u (dat. brynnoni Gibb 38⁹); -ur): mailcoat < brynflagð (noun n.)1. brynja (noun f.; °-u (dat. brynnoni Gibb 38⁹); -ur): mailcoat < brynflag (noun n.): byrnie-spot/hole(?)

[6] bryn‑: brim‑ 54, Bb

kennings

Reginn brynflagðs
‘the Reginn of the byrnie-troll-woman ’
   = WARRIOR = Eiríkr

the byrnie-troll-woman → AXE
the Reginn of the AXE → WARRIOR = Eiríkr
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flagðs ‘troll-woman’

flagð (noun n.): troll-woman < brynflagð (noun n.)flagð (noun n.): troll-woman < brimflagð (noun n.)

[6] ‑flagðs: flags J2ˣ, Flat, FskAˣ

kennings

Reginn brynflagðs
‘the Reginn of the byrnie-troll-woman ’
   = WARRIOR = Eiríkr

the byrnie-troll-woman → AXE
the Reginn of the AXE → WARRIOR = Eiríkr
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flagðs ‘troll-woman’

flagð (noun n.): troll-woman < brynflagð (noun n.)flagð (noun n.): troll-woman < brimflagð (noun n.)

[6] ‑flagðs: flags J2ˣ, Flat, FskAˣ

kennings

Reginn brynflagðs
‘the Reginn of the byrnie-troll-woman ’
   = WARRIOR = Eiríkr

the byrnie-troll-woman → AXE
the Reginn of the AXE → WARRIOR = Eiríkr
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Reginn ‘the Reginn’

reginn (noun m.): reginn

[6] Reginn: regin J2ˣ, 53, Flat, FskAˣ, Holm18, rekinn 4‑7

kennings

Reginn brynflagðs
‘the Reginn of the byrnie-troll-woman ’
   = WARRIOR = Eiríkr

the byrnie-troll-woman → AXE
the Reginn of the AXE → WARRIOR = Eiríkr

notes

[6] Reginn ‘the Reginn <dwarf>’: Reginn is listed in the þulur as the name of a dwarf (see Note to Þul Dverga 6/4III), and it is also the name of Fáfnir’s brother, Reginn Hreiðmarsson in the eddic Sigurðr cycle (see Reg). Dwarf-names are not usual as the base-word of man-kennings, and where Reginn occurs it can be interpreted either as the dwarf-name or the sg. of regin ‘gods’ (Meissner 264), but in this case the choice of Reginn as a base-word with the sense ‘dwarf’ appears to have been prompted by association with Fáfnir (l. 8).

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lagði ‘brought’

leggja (verb): put, lay

[6] lagði: hafði Bb

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hjáms ‘’

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hjalms ‘of the helmet’

1. hjalmr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): helmet

[7] hjalms: ‘hia[…]’ 325VIII 1, ‘hiams’ 53

kennings

hríð hjalms
‘a storm of the helmet ’
   = BATTLE

a storm of the helmet → BATTLE
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at ‘near’

3. at (prep.): at, to

[7] at: und Flat, FskAˣ, Holm18, 310, 4‑7

notes

[7] at holmi ‘near the island’: Und holmi, lit. ‘below the island’ (so Flat, FskAˣ, Holm18, 310, 4-7), is also possible, and would imply that the island had steep cliff-sides. For the debate about the possible location of Svǫlðr (and whether it was an island, a river or a bay), see entry for Óláfr Tryggvason in ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.

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holmi ‘the island’

holmr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-; -ar): island, islet

notes

[7] at holmi ‘near the island’: Und holmi, lit. ‘below the island’ (so Flat, FskAˣ, Holm18, 310, 4-7), is also possible, and would imply that the island had steep cliff-sides. For the debate about the possible location of Svǫlðr (and whether it was an island, a river or a bay), see entry for Óláfr Tryggvason in ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.

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hríð ‘a storm’

hríð (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): time, storm

kennings

hríð hjalms
‘a storm of the helmet ’
   = BATTLE

a storm of the helmet → BATTLE
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famnis ‘’

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Fáfnis ‘Fáfnir’

Fáfnir (noun m.): Fáfnir

[8] Fáfnis: ‘famnes’ FskAˣ, faðmis 310, ‘faðmes’ 4‑7

notes

[8] Fáfnis ‘Fáfnir’: The dragon Fáfnir (Reginn Hreiðmarsson’s brother; see Note to l. 6 above), who was killed by Sigurðr Fáfnisbani ‘Slayer of Fáfnir’ (see Fáfn, Þorf Lv 1). It is used here as a synonym for ormr ‘serpent’, i.e. the ship Ormr inn langi (see also Notes to st. 2/1 above and Hfr ErfÓl 10/1). The variant (normalised) faðmis (nom. faðmir) in FskAˣ, 310, and 4-7 is a Norwegian form of this name (see Note to Anon Nkt 21/4II, as well as RvHbreiðm Hl 7/3III and 47/3III).

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

Towards the end of the battle of Svǫlðr, all of Óláfr Tryggvason’s ships have been cleared except for Ormr inn langi, and all of Óláfr’s men who are still able to fight have gathered there. Eiríkr jarl brings his ship, Barði (‘Prow’) or Járnbarði (‘Iron-prow’), alongside Ormr inn langi, and a hard fight ensues.

In Hkr and ÓT, sts 3-4 are given in reverse order (see Introduction above). — [8]: This line recalls Egill Lv 10/2V (Eg 15) hríð fyr Jótlands síðu.

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