Our seventh song, in a set, is about the skald Bragi Boddason
Bragi Boddason, known as Bragi the Old (Old Norse: Bragi hinn gamli) was a Norwegian skald active in the first half of the 9th century, the earliest known skald from whom verses have survived. Portions of his Ragnarsdrápa are preserved in Snorri Sturluson's Edda.
Our song is written in Dróttkvætt metre - these verse forms were elaborated even more into the skaldic poetic form called dróttkvætt, meaning "courtly metre", which added internal rhymes and other forms of assonance that go well beyond the requirements of Germanic alliterative verse and greatly resemble the Celtic forms (Irish and Welsh). The dróttkvætt stanza had eight lines, each having usually three lifts and almost invariably six syllables. Although other stress patterns appear, the verse is predominantly trochaic. The last two syllables in each line had to form a trochee (there are a few specific forms which utilize a stressed word at line-end, such as in some docked forms). In addition, specific requirements obtained for odd-numbered and even-numbered lines.
In the odd-numbered lines (equivalent to the a-verse of the traditional alliterative line):
Two of the stressed syllables alliterate with each other. Two of the stressed syllables share partial rhyme of consonants (which was called skothending) with dissimilar vowels (e.g. hat and bet), not necessarily at the end of the word (e.g. touching and orchard). In the even lines (equivalent to the b-verse of the traditional alliterative line):
The first stressed syllable must alliterate with the alliterative stressed syllables of the previous line. Two of the stressed syllables rhyme (aðalhending, e.g. hat and cat), not necessarily at the end of the word (e.g. torching and orchard). The requirements of the verse form were so demanding that occasionally the text of the poems had to run parallel, with one thread of syntax running through the on-side of the half-lines, and another running through the off-side. According to the Fagrskinna collection of sagas, King Harald III of Norway uttered these lines of dróttkvætt at the Battle of Stamford Bridge; the internal assonances and the alliteration are emboldened:
Krjúpum vér fyr vápna, (valteigs), brǫkun eigi, (svá bauð Hildr), at hjaldri, (haldorð), í bug skjaldar. (Hátt bað mik), þar's mœttusk, (menskorð bera forðum), hlakkar íss ok hausar, (hjalmstall í gný malma).
It is also sung in a descant form, with the backing vocalists following the lead at half stanza.