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.


[3] búum: búinn Flat, Tóm


[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’).



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