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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Busla Busl 1VIII (Bós 1)

Wilhelm Heizmann (ed.) 2017, ‘Bósa saga 1 (Busla, Buslubæn 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 28.


Hér liggr Hringr konungr         hilmir Gauta
einráðastr         allra manna.
Ætlar þú son þinn         sjálfr at myrða;
þau munu fádæmi         fréttaz víða.

Hér liggr Hringr konungr, hilmir Gauta, einráðastr allra manna. Þú ætlar sjálfr at myrða son þinn; þau fádæmi munu fréttaz víða.

Here lies King Hringr, ruler of the Gautar, the most stubborn of all men. You yourself intend to murder your son; these shocking events will be heard far and wide.

Mss: 586(14r), 577(53r-v), 510(11r), 340ˣ(270), 361ˣ(11r) (Bós)

Readings: [6] at: om. 340ˣ    [7] fá‑: sjálf 577, 361ˣ    [8] fréttaz: spyrjaz 577, 361ˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 330, Skj BII, 350-1, Skald II, 189; Bós 1666, 18, FSN 3, 202, Bós 1893, 16, FSGJ 3, 291, Bós 1996, 12; Edd. Min. 123.

Context: Bósi, a farmer’s son, is to be executed along with the king’s legitimate son, Herrauðr, Bósi’s blood-brother, on account of the former’s slaying of the king’s bastard son, Sjóðr. Herrauðr joined with Bósi against his own father, King Hringr of East Götaland. The night before the execution, Bósi’s sorcerous foster-mother, Busla, appears. In her youth she had been Bósi’s father’s lover. She appears in the king’s bed-chamber and is ultimately successful in dissuading him from his plan. She achieves this goal by reciting a total of nine curse stanzas. They begin with two stanzas that outline the scenario, and then the curses are pronounced.

Notes: [1] Hringr konungr ‘King Hringr’: Legendary kings of this name appear frequently in the fornaldarsögur. — [2] Gauta ‘of the Gautar’: The Gautar (OSwed. Gøtar) or people from Götaland are the eponymous inhabitants of the Swedish heartland (OWN Gautland), as well as the areas of Västergötland and Östergötland, which were probably conquered c. 600 by the Svear. The tribal name is first attested by Procopius during the middle of the sixth century in the form Gautoí (Andersson 1998b).


  1. Bibliography
  2. FSN = Rafn, Carl Christian, ed. 1829-30. Fornaldar sögur nordrlanda. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  5. Edd. Min. = Heusler, Andreas and Wilhelm Ranisch, eds. 1903. Eddica Minora: Dichtungen eddischer Art aus den Fornaldarsögur und anderen Prosawerken. Dortmund: Ruhfus. Rpt. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
  6. Andersson, Thorsten. 1998b. ‘Gøtar’. In RGA, 12, 278-83.
  7. Bós 1996 = Sverrir Tómasson, ed. 1996. Bósa saga og Herrauðs. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  8. Bós 1666 = Verelius, Olaus, ed. 1666. Herrauds och Bosa saga Med en ny vttolkning iämpte Gambla Götskan. Uppsala: Henrich Curio.
  9. Bós 1893 = Jiriczek, Otto L., ed. 1893. Die Bósa-Saga in zwei Fassungen nebst Proben aus den Bósa-Rímur. Strassburg: Karl J. Trübner.

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