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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bersi Lv 1I/4 — hollust ‘most gracious’

Sverð standa þar — sunda
sárs leyfum vér árar —
— herstillis verðr hylli
hollust — búin golli.
Við tœka ek, — víka,
vask endr með þér, sendir
elds — ef eitthvert vildir,
allvaldr, gefa skaldi.

Sverð standa þar búin golli; vér leyfum árar sunda sárs; hylli herstillis verðr hollust. Ek tœka við, ef vildir, allvaldr, gefa skaldi eitthvert; vask endr með þér, sendir elds víka.

Swords stand there decorated with gold; we [I] praise the oars of the bays of the wound [BLOOD > SWORDS]; the favour of the army-commander [RULER] becomes most gracious. I would accept, if you wished, mighty ruler, to give the skald [Bersi] something; I was with you formerly, distributor of the fire of inlets [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN].


[3, 4] herstillis verðr hylli hollust: ‘[...]þ’ NRA52    [4] hollust: ‘hellest’ 321ˣ, ‘bolluzt’ Tóm, ‘haull raud’ Flat(187rb), holl ráð DG8


[4] hollust ‘most gracious’: The variants have a lexical element rather than the sup. ending ‑ust, and as the more complex readings may have more claim to authenticity. The readings in NRA52 and DG8 seem to point to hollrð ‘benign-counsel(led)’, and though not recorded elsewhere hollráðr is a plausible cpd, the antonym of illráðr ‘bad-counselled’ and comparable to stórráðr ‘great-counselled’ and harðráðr ‘harsh-counselled’ (NN §3070); it is printed in Skald. The variant in Flat(187rb), ‘haull raud’, would partially support holl ‘gracious’ and rauðbúin (golli) ‘red-decorated (with gold)’, which are printed in Skj B.



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