Cite as: Carolyne Larrington and Peter Robinson (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Sólarljóð 50’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 330-1.
|Hörundar hungr tælir hölða opt;
hann hefr margr til mikinn;
| mér leiðast var|
eitt allra hluta.
Hörundar hungr tælir hölða opt; margr hefr hann til mikinn; laugavatn var mér eitt leiðast allra hluta.
The hunger of the flesh often entraps men; many a one possesses it in the extreme; washing water was alone to me most hateful of all things.
Mss: 166bˣ(47r-v), papp15ˣ(5r), 738ˣ(82r), 214ˣ(151r), 1441ˣ(585), 10575ˣ(7v), 2797ˣ(235)
Readings:  hann: þann 1441ˣ; mikinn: mikit 2797ˣ  lauga‑: langa 738ˣ, 1441ˣ  mér: so papp15ˣ, eitt er mér 166bˣ, er mér 738ˣ, 214ˣ, 1441ˣ, 10575ˣ, 2797ˣ; leiðast: leiðist 214ˣ; var: varð papp15ˣ, 738ˣ, 214ˣ, 1441ˣ
Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XII], G . Sólarljóð 50: AI, 635, BI, 643, Skald I, 313, NN §2564B; Bugge 1867, 365, Falk 1914, 20, Björn M. Ólsen 1915, 16, Fidjestøl 1979, 67, Njörður Njarðvík 1991, 79, Njörður Njarðvík 1993, 56, 125.
Notes:  laugavatn ‘A bath, washing water’: The significance of this reference is unclear. Some eds assume that the water symbolises repentance and absolution, cf. the heavenly maidens of st. 74 who wash souls clean. Falk (1914a, 29), following CVC: laug, makes the connection with the Saturday (laugardagr) bath, as physical and spiritual preparation for Sunday. Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 46; also Paasche 1948, 183) suggests the bath represents the hot tears of remorse and penitence; cf. Njörður Njarðvík (1991, 79). Njörður Njarðvík (1991, 197-8) contributes a parallel from the Dialogues of Gregory, referring to washing as a way of removing sin produced by intercourse with women (Unger 1877, I, 246). If water symbolises spiritual cleansing here, then the narrator presumably alludes to his former life of debauchery when he was not yet ready to undergo penance. Earlier commentators, as Fidjestøl (1979, 47-8) notes, regarded the bath as the kind of luxury which the body now no longer requires. —  mér ‘to me’: Er ‘which’ appears in the majority of mss before mér but makes the last half of the st. ungrammatical, unless laugavatn is construed as in apposition to hörundar hungr (l. 1). Skj B omits it, though Falk, Skald, Björn M. Ólsen and Njörður Njarðvík 1991 do not.