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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bjǫrn Lv 2VIII (Frið 24)

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Friðþjófs saga ins frœkna 24 (Bjǫrn, Lausavísur 2)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 221.


text and translation

Jósum vér, en yfir         fell ór svalri báru,
teitir á tvau borð         tíu dægr ok átta.
Þat var kynför         kænna drengja,
hversu vér fórum         með Friðþjófi.

Vér jósum teitir á tvau borð tíu dægr ok átta, en fell yfir ór svalri báru. Þat var kynför kænna drengja, hversu vér fórum með Friðþjófi.
‘We baled in good spirits on two sides for eighteen days, and [water] cascaded on board from the cold wave. That was an extraordinary journey of skilful men, how we voyaged with Friðþjófr.

notes and context

Hallvarðr hastens to welcome Friðþjófr and his men after Atli’s rough treatment, and brings them into the hall to meet the local jarl, who asks them about their journey. Bjǫrn explains in a stanza (but see Note to [All] below).

This stanza and the preceding prose are poorly recorded in the A recension mss, and the stanza itself is not present in either 568ˣ or 27ˣ. The B mss do not have ll. 5-8. Although the prose of the B recension mss attributes it to Friðþjófr’s foster-brother Bjǫrn, the attribution in 510 (Frið 1893, 50) is simply hann kvað vísu ‘he spoke a stanza’, and the most natural interpretation of this prose context would be that Friðþjófr spoke this stanza. However, ll. 5-8 of the stanza itself indicate that the speaker was someone other than Friðþjófr. The fact that these lines are missing in the B mss may indicate some confusion in the ms. transmission as to the identity of the speaker of the stanza. At all events, this stanza is badly mangled in all mss, and the present text represents the best that can be made of the A version, which involves two minor emendations and a hypothetical interpretation of the hap. leg. kynför (l. 5). The metre is a mixture of fornyrðislag and málaháttr.



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: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 7. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Friðþjófssaga ens frækna I 23: AII, 275, BII, 296-7, Skald II, 156, FF §37C; Falk 1890, 79, Frið 1893, 21, 50, Frið 1901, 32, Frið 1914, 20; Edd. Min. 101.


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