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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Rv Lv 2II

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson, Lausavísur 2’ 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. 577-8.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali KolssonLausavísur

text and translation

Vér hǫfum vaðnar leirur
vikur fimm megingrimmar;
saurs vasa vant, es vôrum,
viðr, í Grímsbœ miðjum.
Nús, þats môs of mýrar
meginkátliga lôtum
branda elg á bylgjur
Bjǫrgynjar til dynja.

Vér hǫfum vaðnar leirur fimm megingrimmar vikur; vasa vant saurs viðr, es vôrum í miðjum Grímsbœ. Nús, þats meginkátliga lôtum {elg branda} dynja á bylgjur til Bjǫrgynjar of {mýrar môs}.
‘We have waded the mud-flats for five mightily grim weeks; there was no lack there of muck when we were in the middle of Grimsby. Now it is the case that mightily merrily we cause the elk of the prow [SHIP] to boom on the waves to Bergen across the marshes of the gull [SEA].

notes and context

Ch. 59 of Orkn describes the fifteen-year-old Kali’s trip to England with some merchants; they return to Norway on the same ship in ch. 60.

[1-6]: The coastal landscape around Grimsby is characterised by both mud-flats and salt-marshes and the town itself was virtually an island with only one road into it at the end of the Middle Ages (Gillett 1970, 1). The st. appears to describe the Norwegians’ regular journey across the mud-flats to the town from their mooring-place in the haven during their stay. The sea-kenning mýrar ms ‘marshes of the gull’ is ironic since by then the sailors have left the marshes behind and the contrast is underlined by the two descriptors in megin- ‘mightily’, which contrast the grimness of their weeks in Grimsby with their pleasure at setting off for home.



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 2: AI, 505, BI, 479, Skald I, 235, NN §972C; Flat 1860-8, II, 441, Orkn 1887, 96, Orkn 1913-16, 141, ÍF 34, 131 (ch. 60), Bibire 1988, 226.


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