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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Rv Lv 15II

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson, Lausavísur 15’ 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. 592-3.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali KolssonLausavísur

text and translation

Vísts, at frá berr flestu
Fróða meldrs at góðu
vel skúfaðra vífa
vǫxtr þinn, konan svinna.
Skorð lætr hár á herðar
haukvallar sér falla
— átgjǫrnum rauðk erni
ilka — gult sem silki.

Konan svinna, vísts, at vǫxtr þinn berr at góðu frá vel flestu vífa skúfaðra {meldrs Fróða}. {Skorð {haukvallar}} lætr hár, gult sem silki, falla á herðar sér; rauðk ilka átgjǫrnum erni.
‘Wise woman, it is certain that your [hair-]growth surpasses in beauty [that of] pretty much most women with locks [like] the meal of Fróði <legendary king> [GOLD]. The prop of the hawk-field [ARM > WOMAN] lets her hair, yellow like silk, fall onto her shoulders; I reddened the claws of the food-hungry eagle.

notes and context

Having arrived in Narbonne, Rǫgnvaldr and his crusaders are invited to a feast by Ermingerðr, who is described as a drottning ‘queen’ and the daughter of the recently-deceased jarl of the town. Ermingerðr enters the hall with her women, carrying a golden vessel to serve Rǫgnvaldr, who grabs her hand and places her on his lap, ok tǫluðu mart um daginn ‘and they spoke about many things during the day’.

The visit to Narbonne happened in the summer of 1151. Ermingerðr is Ermengard, Viscountess of Narbonne, daughter of Aymeri IV. She inherited the town at a young age (her date of birth is not known) when her two brothers predeceased her father. After some turbulent years and, despite two marriages of convenience, she ruled Narbonne in her own right from the 1140s and was an energetic and effective ruler until her death in 1196. She appears widely in troubadour poetry and she was probably a patron of this genre. For a full study of her life and rule, see Cheyette 2001 and Caille 2005, chs 10-11; for detailed discussion of the troubadour connection, see Finlay 1995.



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: Rǫgnvaldr jarl kali Kolsson, Lausavísur 15: AI, 508, BI, 482, Skald I, 236, NN §2065; Flat 1860-8, II, 478, Orkn 1887, 160-1, Orkn 1913-16, 233, ÍF 34, 210 (ch. 86), Bibire 1988, 232.


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