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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bersi Ólfl 3I/3 — búum ‘readying’

Krýpk eigi svá, sveigir
sára linns — í ári
búum ólítinn Áta
ǫndur þér til handa —,
at, herstefnir, hafnak,
heiðmildr, eða þá leiðumk,
— ungr kunnak þar þrøngvi
þínn — hollvini mína.

Sveigir linns sára, krýpk eigi svá — í ári búum ólítinn ǫndur Áta til handa þér —, heiðmildr herstefnir, at hafnak, eða þá leiðumk, hollvini mína; ungr kunnak þrøngvi þínn þar.

Swinger of the snake of wounds [SWORD > WARRIOR], I do not crawl in such a way — early on we are [I am] readying a not small ski of Áti <sea-king> [SHIP] for you —, reward-generous army commander [RULER], that I forsake, or else then tire of, my loyal friends; [when] young, I got to know your enemy there.

readings

[3] búum: búinn Flat, Tóm

notes

[3] búum ‘we are [I am] readying’: The point about readying or preparing a ship is not entirely clear, but it seems to be a promise of service, despite not abandoning former friends (so Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901, IV; ÍF 27). If búumk is not taken as ‘prepare’ but ‘dwell, inhabit’ it could instead be a reference to the speaker’s captivity on board ship (so Hkr 1991, which favours taking þér til handa with krýpk eigi svá, hence ‘I do not crawl thus into your power’).

grammar

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