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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bjbp Jóms 14I

Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 14’ 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. 971.

Bjarni byskup KolbeinssonJómsvíkingadrápa

Vagn kvað hitt inn hrausti;
Hamðis gunnar tǫmðum
sá lézk frœkn at fylgja
faldruðr Búa skyldu.
Þá réð heit til hvítrar
hringa meiðr at strengja
— mér kømr harmr at hendi
hættr — Þorketils dóttur.

Inn hrausti Vagn kvað hitt; {sá frœkn {Hamðis fald}ruðr} lézk skyldu at fylgja Búa, tǫmðum gunnar. Þá réð {meiðr hringa} at strengja heit til {hvítrar dóttur Þorketils}; hættr harmr kømr mér at hendi.

The bold Vagn spoke another [oath]; {that brave bush {of the hood of Hamðir <legendary hero>}} [(lit. ‘hood-bush of Hamðir’) HELMET > WARRIOR = Vagn] declared it his duty to follow Búi, accustomed to battle. Then {the tree of rings} [MAN = Vagn] made a vow concerning {the bright daughter of Þorkell} [= Ingibjǫrg]; dangerous grief comes upon me.

Mss: R(53v)

Readings: [6] hringa: ‘hriga’ R

Editions: Skj AII, 4, Skj BII, 4, Skald II, 2Fms 11, 166-7, Fms 12, 243, Jvs 1879, 108-9, 132.

Notes: [2] tǫmðum ‘accustomed’: This is the m. dat. sg. of tam(i)ðr, adjectival p. p. of temja ‘tame, train, accustom’. Here the gen.-case gunnar ‘battle’ specifies to what Búi is accustomed, though a phrase using við ‘to’ would be more usual with temja, tam(i)ðr; see NS §136 for comparable constructions of adj. + gen. — [3, 4] lézk skyldu ‘declared it his duty’: Lit. ‘declared it [to be] a duty for himself’. It appears that m. v. lézk is to be read as lét sér, ‘declared for himself’, and skyldu is acc. sg. of the noun skylda ‘duty’, with vera ‘to be’ understood; cf. NS §153a for m. v. forms in which the enclitic refl. pron. functions as a dat. of respect. Alternatively, skyldu could be verbal: lézk, at [þeir] skyldu fylgja Búa ‘declared that they should follow Búi’; cf. st. 11/2, 4. — [3] frœkn ‘brave’: On the strong adj. here, see Note to st. 7/3, 4. — [5, 6] réð ... at strengja ‘swore’: Réð, 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic. of ráða ‘advise, determine’ etc., is here a pleonastic auxiliary. — [5] heit ‘a vow’: Vagn, according to Jvs (1879, 57), vows that he will bed Þorkell leira’s daughter, Ingibjǫrg, and kill Þorkell. See sts 42-5 for the outcome. — [6] meiðr hringa ‘the tree of rings [MAN = Vagn]’: ‘Hriga’ in R must be a scribal error for hringa; all eds emend here. — [7-8] hættr harmr kømr mér at hendi ‘dangerous grief comes upon me’: The reappearance of the unhappy love motif, which contains verbal echoes of st. 2/3-4, chimes with Vagn’s oath about Ingibjǫrg in this stanza and with the theme of the stef in the following one. — [8] dóttur Þorketils ‘daughter of Þorkell [= Ingibjǫrg]’: Þorkell leira ‘Clay’ is one of the leading men in Hákon jarl’s army.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.
  5. Jvs 1879 = Petersens, Carl af, ed. 1879. Jómsvíkinga saga (efter Cod. AM. 510, 4:to) samt Jómsvíkinga drápa. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. Internal references
  7. (forthcoming), ‘ Unattributed, Jómsvíkinga saga’ 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. . <> (accessed 27 September 2021)

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