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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ólhelg Lv 8I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Óláfr inn helgi Haraldsson, Lausavísur 8’ 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. 527.

Óláfr inn helgi HaraldssonLausavísur

text and translation

Fagr stóðk, meðan bar brúði
blakkr, ok sák á sprakka
— oss lét ynðis missa
augfǫgr kona — af haugi.
Keyrði Gefn ór garði
góðlôt vala slóðar
eyk, en ein glǫp sœkir
jarl hvern, kona snarlig.

Stóðk fagr, meðan blakkr bar brúði, ok sák á sprakka af haugi; augfǫgr kona lét oss missa ynðis. {Góðlôt Gefn {slóðar vala}}, snarlig kona, keyrði eyk ór garði, en ein glǫp sœkir hvern jarl.
‘I stood, handsome, as the dark horse bore the bride, and I gazed on the lady from the mound; the handsome-eyed woman caused us [me] to forfeit happiness. The courteous Gefn <= Freyja> of the track of falcons [ARM > WOMAN], quick-witted woman, spurred her mount out of the yard, but one error afflicts every jarl.

notes and context

In Flat it is told briefly that on one occasion when Óláfr was in Garðaríki (north-west Russia) the princess Ingigerðr went off on a journey. Seeing this, Óláfr spoke the stanza; Lv 9 follows. The version contained in 61 and Tóm locates the episode within the story that a marriage arrangement between Óláfr and Ingigerðr, daughter of Óláfr sœnski ‘the Swede’ Eiríksson, broke down when her father instead gave her to Jarizleifr (Jaroslav), ruler of Russia. Seeing Óláfr outraged at this breach of faith, Ingigerðr’s sister Ástríðr pleads with him not to sacrifice the lives of Christian men and instead to accept her hand in marriage. When he proves intransigent, she rebukes him and rides off. The king climbs a nearby burial mound and speaks the stanza, reflecting that Ástríðr is right that it is a terrible misdeed (mikill glæpr) to sacrifice the lives of many Christian men for the sake of the difference between two sisters. He then accepts Ástríðr in marriage.



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: Óláfr Haraldsson enn helgi, Lausavísur 10: AI, 222, BI, 212, Skald I, 111, NN §2196A; Fms 4, 195-6, Fms 5, 200, Fms 12, 86-7, 110, ÓH 1941, II, 771, 820, Flat 1860-8, II, 341.


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