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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Rv Lv 5II

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson, Lausavísur 5’ 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. 580-1.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali KolssonLausavísur

text and translation

Liggja sék á leggjum
(láss bannar þér rásir)
kveldfǫrlustum karli
(Kúgi) járn in bjúgu.
Eiguð aldri, Kúgi,
— aptr munt settr af prettum —
— nauðrs at nýta eiða —
náttþing, ok halt sáttir.

Sék in bjúgu járn liggja á leggjum kveldfǫrlustum karli; Kúgi, láss bannar þér rásir. Eiguð aldri náttþing, Kúgi, ok halt sáttir; munt aptr settr af prettum; nauðrs at nýta eiða.
‘I see the curved irons lying on the legs of the old man who was out and about most in the evening; Kúgi, the lock prevents you from running. Never hold night-meetings, Kúgi, and keep to agreements; you will be hindered from treacherous deeds; it is necessary to keep to oaths.

notes and context

Kúgi of Rapness (Hreppisnes) on Westray is described in Orkn ch. 56 as a vitr maðr ok auðigr ‘wise and wealthy man’ (ÍF 34, 120) who is one of the main supporters of Rǫgnvaldr’s rival, Páll jarl Hákonarson. After an unsuccessful attempt to invade Orkney in 1135, Rǫgnvaldr succeeded in the following year by sabotaging the early-warning beacon and exploiting dissension among Páll’s followers. On Rǫgnvaldr’s arrival in Westray, many of the inhabitants submitted to him, including Kúgi, who had been arrested by Rǫgnvaldr’s men on suspicion of treachery. The st. is Rǫgnvaldr’s response to Kúgi’s eloquent plea for mercy; he goes on to give ǫllum mǫnnum grið ‘a truce to everyone’.



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 5: AI, 506, BI, 479-80, Skald I, 235; Flat 1860-8, II, 458, Orkn 1887, 124, Orkn 1913-16, 183, ÍF 34, 165 (ch. 72), Bibire 1988, 227.


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