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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kolbeinn Tumason (Kolb)

13th century; volume 4; ed. Guðrún Nordal;

VII. Jónsvísur (Jónv) - 5

Skj info: Kolbeinn Tumason, Islandsk höfding og skjald, d. 1208. (AII, 37-40, BII, 45-9).

Skj poems:
1. Jónsvísur
2. Lausavísur

This edition is currently in preparation. The biography below may represent a superseded edition, notes and/or an interim or draft version. Do not cite this material without consulting the volume and skald editors.

Kolbeinn Tumason (1173-1208) was a member of the Ásbirningar family and the most powerful chieftain in northern Iceland around 1200. In order to cement his position, Kolbeinn used his influence to ensure the election of his wife’s cousin Guðmundr Árason as bishop of Hólar, the episcopal seat in Skagafjörður, in 1201. Guðmundr, however, proved to be a staunch advocate of ecclesiastical independence from secular chieftains and thus he and Kolbeinn soon came into conflict with one another. Guðmundr excommunicated Kolbeinn several times between 1205 and 1207; in 1208 Kolbeinn mounted an attack on Guðmundr and his supporters at Víðines (Hjaltadalur), in the course of which Kolbeinn was killed (Gunnar Karlsson 1975, 34-5; Magnús Stefánsson 1975, 118-29).

Kolbeinn lived at Víðimýrr in Skagafjǫrðr, where he had a church dedicated to the Virgin and S. Peter. Although he was not in orders, Kolbeinn was a man of some education, as his poetry reveals. It also reveals his deeply religious nature, notwithstanding his opposition to Guðmundr Árason. In addition to several lvv (Kolb LvIV) and three sts composed immediately before his death, which are variously quoted in Stu, GBp or TGT, Kolbeinn is said to have been the author of a poem in praise of Mary, of which, however, no trace remains (GBpA, 457 n. 1, 491 n. 2; GBpB, 569-70). Five sts from a poem in honour of S. John (Kolb Jónv) have been preserved in Jón4. ‘It is no doubt [John] the Evangelist’s Association with [Mary] which led him to compose poetry in his honour’ (Cormack 1994, 42).

Jónsvísur (‘Vísur about John the Apostle’) — Kolb JónvVII

Beatrice La Farge 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Kolbeinn Tumason, Jónsvísur’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 223-7.

 1   2   3   4   5 

Skj: Kolbeinn Tumason: 1. Jónsvísur (AII, 37, BII, 45-6)

SkP info: VII, 226

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Kolb Jónv 4VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2007, ‘Kolbeinn Tumason, Jónsvísur 4’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 226.

Kœnn, lé*zt þú hag hreinnar
hǫfðingi, drótningar,
hafs meðan hyrþǫll lifði,
hugat blíðliga síðan.
Þér var hón, sem hárar
hildingr skipa vildi
(ykr lofar) éla þekju,
(ǫll þjóð) í stað móður.

Kœnn hǫfðingi, þú lé*zt hag hreinnar drótningar hugat blíðliga síðan, meðan {{hafs hyr}þǫll} lifði. Hón var í stað móður þér, sem {hildingr {hárar þekju éla}} vildi skipa; ǫll þjóð lofar ykr.

Wise chieftain, you let the circumstances of the pure queen be attended to kindly thereafter, as long as {the fir sapling {of the fire of the sea}} [(lit. ‘sea’s fire-fir sapling’) GOLD > WOMAN = Mary] lived. She was in the position of a mother to you, as {the warlord {of the high thatch of snowstorms}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] wanted it arranged; all people praise you.

Mss: 649a(47v) (Jón4)

Readings: [1] lé*zt: ‘leitz’ 649a

Editions: Skj: Kolbeinn Tumason, 1. Jónsvísur 4: AII, 37, BII, 46, Skald II, 29; Jón4 1874, 512, Bugge 1874, 935-6, GBpB, 570n.

Context: See Introduction.

Notes: [1, 2, 4] þú lézt hag hreinnar drótningar hugat blíðliga síðan ‘you let the circumstances of the pure queen be attended to kindly thereafter’: The ms. reading ‘leitz’ could be interpreted as the 2nd pers. sg. pret. indic. form of the verb líta ‘to look’, leizt ‘looked’ or as the corresponding m.v. form ‘looked at yourself/for yourself’. Neither verb form makes sense in the passage at hand and all eds follow Bugge’s emendation to lézt (= 2nd pers. sg. pret. indic. form of the verb láta ‘let’; Jón4 1874, 935). Bugge’s emendation of hugat ‘attended to’ to huggat ‘comforted’ (Jón4 1874, 935 n. 2) makes the l. too long by introducing a long plus a short syllable (= 2 syllables).

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