Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞGísl Búdr 3I

Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorkell Gíslason, Búadrápa 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. 944.

Þorkell GíslasonBúadrápa

Bôru raukn rasta
rekka geðfasta
— þrǫng at rym randa —
til ræsis landa.
Við nam víðr mǫrgum
— vôpn eru grimm tǫrgum —
— nýtt gafsk nest hrǫfnum —
Nóregr skipstǫfnum.

{Raukn rasta} bôru geðfasta rekka til landa ræsis; þrǫng at {rym randa}. Víðr Nóregr nam við mǫrgum skipstǫfnum; vôpn eru grimm tǫrgum; nýtt nest gafsk hrǫfnum.

{The draught animals of currents} [SHIPS] carried the mind-firm warriors to the lands of the ruler [Hákon]; {the clatter of shields} [BATTLE] closed in. Far-reaching Norway halted many ship-prows; weapons are harsh towards targes; fresh provisions were given to ravens.

Mss: 61(19rb), 54(15rb), Bb(25va) (ÓT)

Readings: [3] at: af Bb    [5] víðr: so 54, Bb, ‘viði’ 61    [7] gafsk: so 54, Bb, gaf 61    [8] skip‑: skeiðar‑ 54, Bb

Editions: Skj AI, 554, Skj BI, 536, Skald I, 260; Fms 1, 165-6, Fms 12, 41, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 182-3 (ch. 88), Ólafur Halldórsson 2000, 23, 76.

Context: Stanza 3 follows on directly after the quotation of st. 2, with linking ok enn ‘and further’ in 61.

Notes: [1] raukn rasta ‘the draught animals of currents [SHIPS]’: The kenning is consonant with st. 2/2 marir barða ‘stallions of the stems’ and st. 2/6 brimdýr ‘surf-animals’; collectively they evoke an image of powerful movement over water. — [1] rasta ‘of currents’: For this sense of rǫst f., and its use in ship-kennings, see LP: 2. rǫst.  — [2] geðfasta ‘mind-firm’: Applied to the rekka ‘warriors’ in the force of the Jómsvíkingar, this may specifically recall the vows that gave rise to this expedition (see Context to st. 1). — [5] nam við ‘halted’: Norway under Hákon jarl’s rule is lightly personified here. — [5] víðr (m. nom. sg.) ‘far-reaching’: The adj. qualifies Nóregr ‘Norway’, and could refer either to its long western coastline or to the broad expanse of southern Norway; the most usual sense is ‘broad’ (see LP: víðr). 61’s ‘viði’ could be read as the dat. sg. of viðr m. ‘tree, wood, mast’, but it does not make sense in context. — [7] gafsk ‘were given’: The m. v. form gafsk (so 54, 61) gives excellent sense and is adopted here, as in Fms 12, Skj B and Skald. The pret. indic. form gaf ‘gave’ would require a sg. and animate subject, but there is none in the helmingr (it is retained by Ólafur Halldórsson 2000). — [8] skipstǫfnum ‘ship-prows’: Skeiðarstǫfnum ‘warship-prows’ (so 54, Bb) works equally well and is more specific, but produces a supernumerary syllable.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  7. Ólafur Halldórsson. 2000. Danish Kings and the Jomsvikings in the Greatest Saga of Óláfr Tryggvason. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.

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