Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Nefari Lv 1II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Nefari, Lausavísa 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 645-6.


Týnum Birkibeinum!
Beri Sverrir hlut verra!
Lǫtum randhœing reyndan
ríða hart ok tíðum!
Hœlumk minnst í máli!
Metumk heldr at val felldan!
Lǫtum skipta guð giptu!
Gerum hríð, þás þeim svíði!

Týnum Birkibeinum! Beri Sverrir verra hlut! Lǫtum {reyndan randhœing} ríða hart ok tíðum! Hœlumk minnst í máli! Metumk heldr at felldan val! Lǫtum guð skipta giptu! Gerum hríð, þás svíði þeim!

Let’s destroy the Birkibeinar! May Sverrir suffer defeat! Let’s make {the tested shield-rim salmon} [SWORD] swing hard and frequently! Let’s boast the least in our speech! Rather, let’s measure ourselves when the slaughtered ones have fallen! Let’s allow God to decide the outcome! Let’s make a storm that will smart for them!

Mss: 327(55r), Flat(155va), 8(9v), E(102v), 81a(31ra) (Sv)

Readings: [1] Týnum: Rænum Flat    [3] randhœing: ‘ranghæíng’ Flat, randir 8, ‘randheing’ E, randhring 81a;    reyndan: reyndar 8    [5] minnst: minnr 8;    máli: mlum 8    [6] Metumk: ‘mektumz’ Flat;    at: af Flat;    felldan: felldum Flat, 8, 81a    [7] guð: om. Flat    [8] þás (‘þa er’): ‘suo at’ 81a

Editions: Skj AI, 537, Skj BI, 518, Skald I, 253; ÍF 30, 161 (ch. 105), Sv 1920, 112, Flat 1860-8, II, 627, E 1916, 354, Sv 1910-86, 138.

Context: The Kuflungar are sailing in strong winds north to Agdenes in Trøndelag (1186). Nefari incites his companions to act rather than to boast when they face Sverrir and the Birkibeinar in Trondheim.

Notes: [All]: For a similar incitement from one of the Birkibeinar a year later, see Blakkr Lv 1-2 below. — [1] Birkibeinum ‘the Birkibeinar’: The Birkibeinar ‘Birch-legs’ were the followers of Sverrir Sigurðarson. They were the former supporters of Eysteinn meyla ‘Little Girl’ Eysteinsson (d. 1177), and they received their name because they were initially so poor that they wrapped their feet in bark for want of shoes (see ÍF 28, 411). — [2] beri Sverrir verra hlut ‘may Sverrir suffer defeat’: Lit. ‘may Sverrir bear the worst lot’. — [3, 7] lǫtum ‘let’s’: The short stem vowel <ǫ> (from lata rather than láta ‘let’; see ANG §505 Anm. 1) is required by the metre. Látum (so ÍF 30; ltum, Skald) creates a hypermetrical l. — [3] randhœing ‘shield-rim salmon [SWORD]’: Hœingr is a male salmon (see Anon Nkt 4/7). — [6] metumk ‘let’s measure ourselves’: This implies that they should put off quarrelling about who is better until after the attack. — [6] at felldan val ‘when the slaughtered ones have fallen’: Lit. ‘after the slain have been felled’. The prep. at ‘after’ is used with the acc. in a temporal sense. The variant with the dat., at felldum val (so 8, 81a) would translate as ‘in accordance with the slaughtered ones who have fallen’. — [8] þás ‘that’: Both Skj B and Skald read er (so Skj B) or es (so Skald) ‘that’ and delete the demonstrative þá (f. acc. sg.) against all mss.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  5. Sv 1920 = Indrebø, Gustav, ed. 1920. Sverris saga etter Cod. AM 327 4°. Christiania (Oslo): Dybwad. Rpt. 1981. Oslo: Norsk historisk kjeldeskrift-institutt.
  6. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  7. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  8. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  9. ÍF 30 = Sverris saga. Ed. Þorleifur Hauksson. 2007.
  10. Sv 1910-86 = Kjær, Albert and Ludvig Holm-Olsen, eds. 1910-86. Det Arnamagnæanske haandskrift 81a fol. (Skálholtsbók yngsta) indeholdende Sverris saga, Bǫglungasǫgur, Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar. Oslo: Den norske historiske kildeskriftkommission and Kjeldeskriftfondet.
  11. Internal references
  12. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Anonymous Poems, Nóregs konungatal 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 764.
  13. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Blakkr, Lausavísur 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 649.

Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.


Stanza/chapter/text segment

Use the buttons at the top of the page to navigate between stanzas in a poem.

Information tab

Interactive tab

The text and translation are given here, with buttons to toggle whether the text is shown in the verse order or prose word order. Clicking on indiviudal words gives dictionary links, variant readings, kennings and notes, where relevant.

Full text tab

This is the text of the edition in a similar format to how the edition appears in the printed volumes.

Chapter/text segment

This view is also used for chapters and other text segments. Not all the headings shown are relevant to such sections.