Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Lausavísur (Anon)

I. 7. Lausavísa from Óláfs saga helga (ÓH) - 1

not in Skj

2.2: Lausavísa from Óláfs saga helga — Anon (ÓH)I

Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Lausavísa from Óláfs saga helga’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1087.


SkP info: I, 1087

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Anon (ÓH) 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísa from Óláfs saga helga 1’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1087.

Ôleifr knýr und ôrum
orðsnjallr Visund norðan;
brýtr annarr gramr úti
unnheim dreka sunnan.

Orðsnjallr Ôleifr knýr Visund norðan und ôrum; annarr gramr brýtr {unnheim} dreka sunnan úti.

The word-sharp Óláfr [Haraldsson] propels Visundr (‘Bison’) from the north using oars; another monarch cleaves {the wave-world} [SEA] with a dragon-ship from the south, out at sea.

Mss: (404v), papp18ˣ(143r) (Hkr); Holm2(50v), 972ˣ(365va), J2ˣ(194v), 321ˣ(180), 68(48v), Holm4(44vb), 61(111ra), 75c(29v), 325V(56vb), 325VII(29v), Bb(180rb), Flat(114va), Tóm(137r) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] knýr: of knýr J2ˣ, 321ˣ, ‘kyr’ Tóm;    und ôrum: undrum Holm2, ára J2ˣ, ǫndrum 321ˣ, með ári 325VII    [2] orðsnjallr: unnheim J2ˣ, orðsæll Tóm;    Visund: ‘vishund’ Flat;    norðan: geima J2ˣ    [3] brýtr annarr gramr úti: húfr skerr hranna kleifar J2ˣ;    brýtr: ‘byr’ 325V;    gramr: grannr 972ˣ    [4] unnheim dreka sunnan: hraustr þar er gramr ferr austan J2ˣ;    unnheim: so papp18ˣ, Holm2, 68, Holm4, 61, 325V, 325VII, Tóm, unnbein Kˣ, um heim 321ˣ, undheim 75c, undvigg Bb, undheims Flat;    sunnan: sunnar 325VII

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte om historiske personer og begivenheder [XI], [7]. Lausavísur 4: AI, 425, BI, 395, Skald I, 195; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 348, IV, 141, ÍF 27, 268-9, Hkr 1991, II, 448 (ÓHHkr ch. 144); ÓH 1941, I, 423 (ch. 134), Flat 1860-8, II, 275.

Context: Óláfr launches a fleet southwards, headed by his ship Visundr. Hearing that Knútr inn ríki Sveinsson has called up a leiðangr ‘naval levy’ and is intending to attack Norway, but unable to get reliable confirmation, King Óláfr Haraldsson decides to sail with his choicest troops to Denmark, giving the others leave to go home.

Notes: [1] Visund ‘Visundr (“Bison”)’: Óláfr Haraldsson’s prized ship, which is celebrated in the same breath as Óláfr Tryggvason’s famous Ormr inn langi ‘the Long Serpent’ in Sigv ErfÓl 3/8, cited earlier in the same chapter as the present stanza. Visundr was inherited by Óláfr’s son Magnús, and hence also appears in poetry about him (ÞjóðA Magnfl 4/8II, Arn Hryn 9/4II, 16/8II). It is described in Hkr (ÍF 28, 34) as a magnificent vessel, with a bison’s head and tail at prow and stern, gold-adorned stems and more than thirty pairs of rowing benches. — [3-4]: The J2ˣ version of the lines, indeed of the whole helmingr, is clearly an oral variant which departs considerably from the consensus of the other mss. Lines 3-4 would mean ‘The hull cleaves the slopes of waves [SEA] where the valiant prince travels from the east’.

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