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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bjbp Jóms 27I

Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 27’ 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. 983.

Bjarni byskup KolbeinssonJómsvíkingadrápa

Ein drepr fyr mér allri
— él gnúði mjǫk stála —
— álmr spann af sér odda —
ítrmanns kona teiti.
Góð ætt of kemr grimmu
— gripu þeir í bug snœrum
gunnrakkastir gumnar —
gœðings at mér stríði.

Ein kona ítrmanns drepr allri teiti fyr mér; {él stála} gnúði mjǫk; álmr spann odda af sér. Góð ætt gœðings of kemr grimmu stríði at mér; þeir gunnrakkastir gumnar gripu í bug snœrum.

A certain nobleman’s wife kills all joy for me; {the storm of steel weapons} [BATTLE] roared greatly; the elm-bow kicked arrow-points from itself. The good kinswoman of a chieftain brings cruel torment upon me; those extremely battle-bold men gripped on the curve of the spear-thongs.

Mss: R(54r)

Readings: [5] kemr grimmu: abbrev. as ‘k̄ gri’ R

Editions: Skj AII, 6, Skj BII, 6, Skald II, 4; Fms 11, 170, Fms 12, 245, Jvs 1879, 112-13.

Notes: [All]: Lines 1, 4, 5 and 8 form the fourth appearance of the stef ‘refrain’; see Introduction. — [3] spann ‘kicked’: The 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic. of sperna ‘spurn, kick with the feet’. Ms. spann is retained here, as an assimilated by-form of sparn (see CVC: sperna; ANG §272. 2 Anm. 2). A minor emendation produces the more familiar form sparn (so LP (1860): sperna; also Jvs 1879; Skj B; Skald). Line 3 is discussed in the Note to RvHbreiðm Hl 28/6III. — [6] í bug snœrum ‘on the curve of the spear-thongs’: Bugr is ‘bend, bight, (inner) curve, concave side’, e.g. í bug hringinum ‘the inside curve of the ring’ (CVC: bugr). Snœri is related to snœra ‘to tie, twist’ (AEW: snœra), and denotes a cable, cord or thong of various sorts. In battle contexts, it normally denotes the thongs by which spears are held (ÞjóðA Magnfl 17/6II, and cf. the compounds snœrispjót, snœridarr ‘thonged spear’, LP: snœri), so that this seems the most likely sense here, and it is assumed in Fms 12 and Skj B. Contextually, though, a bow-string would also be an attractive possibility. — [7] gunnrakkastir ‘extremely battle-bold’: Cf. st. 10/6 ógnrakkastir ‘extremely terror-bold’ or ‘battle-bold’, of the Jómsvíkingar. On the strong adj. here, see Note to st. 7/3, 4.


  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. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  6. 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.
  7. LP (1860) = Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1860. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis. Copenhagen: Societas Regia antiquariorum septentrionalium.
  8. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  9. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  10. Jvs 1879 = Petersens, Carl af, ed. 1879. Jómsvíkinga saga (efter Cod. AM. 510, 4:to) samt Jómsvíkinga drápa. Lund: Gleerup.
  11. Internal references
  12. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 28’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1036.
  13. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Magnússflokkr 17’ 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. 84-5.

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