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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Lausavísur (Anon)

III. 3. Stanzas from Snorra Edda (SnE) - 18

not in Skj

2.1: Stanzas from Snorra Edda — Anon (SnE)III

Kari Ellen Gade, Margaret Clunies Ross and Matthew Townend 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Stanzas from Snorra Edda’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 512.

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SkP info: III, 529

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

17 — Anon (SnE) 17III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Matthew Townend (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Stanzas from Snorra Edda 17’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 529.

This fragment of a poem (Anon (SnE) 17) – quoted in Skm (SnE) to illustrate the term allvaldr ‘mighty ruler’ – is in praise of a ruler whose father is called Sveinn. Finnur Jónsson (Skj) suggests this may be S. Knútr Sveinsson of Denmark (d. 10 July 1086), and proposes a possible date of 1080. More likely, though, is that the king concerned is the earlier Knútr inn ríki ‘the Great’ Sveinsson (d. 13 November 1035), and that the poem dates from the 1020s. In favour of this are the following points: (1) Knútr inn ríki was a more energetic patron of skaldic verse than S. Knútr (see Frank 1994b; Townend 2001). (2) Austr ok suðr ‘east and south’ (l. 2) probably suggests an Anglocentric perspective – readily intelligible for poetry composed and/or delivered in England (as for Knútr inn ríki) but less so for poetry from Denmark (as for S. Knútr). (3) The insistence that Knútr inn ríki is sonr Sveins ‘son of Sveinn’ (l. 3) is one of the most prominent features in poems in his honour (see Frank 1994b, 112). (4) Though less conclusive, it may be that the term allvaldr is more in keeping with the imperial ambitions of Knútr inn ríki than those of S. Knútr (on skaldic terms for Knútr inn ríki, see Frank 1994a). The conclusion, albeit provisional, that this fragment is in honour of Knútr inn ríki was shared by the scribe (Árni Magnússon) of the post-medieval ms. 761aˣ (c. 1700), who wrote beside his copy of the stanza on fol. 95v: Þetta er liklegast ur kvæði Hallvarðs hareks blesa um Knut Sveinsson Dana og Eingla konung ‘This is most probably from Hallvarðr Háreksblesi’s poem about Knútr Sveinsson, king of the Danes and English’. This is a shrewd guess, but while the (admittedly brief) fragment presented here is stylistically in keeping with Hallvarðr’s poem (Hallv Knútdr; preserved mostly in Skm), there are metrical differences: Hallv Knútdr is composed in the dróttkvætt variant skjálfhent ‘tremble-rhymed’, whereas the present helmingr is in regular dróttkvætt. The fragment is preserved in mss R (main ms.), , B and C of Skm (SnE). Because ms. B(7r) is now mostly illegible here, 744ˣ has been used in its place.

Allvalda kannk alla
austr ok suðr of flausta
(Sveins es sonr at reyna)
setr (hverjum gram betri).

 

I know all mighty rulers east and south across {the abode of ships}; [SEA] {Sveinn’s son} [= Knútr] is better to deal with than any other ruler.

context: This stanza is quoted in Skm to illustrate the use of allvaldr as a nafn ókent ‘non-periphrastic term’ for ‘man’, and introduced with svá sem hér er kveðit ‘as is said here’.

notes: [1]: This line has aðalhending (all : all) rather than the expected skothending.

texts: Skm 385, SnE 387

editions: Skj Anonyme digte om historiske personer og begivenheder [XI]: [6]. Af et fyrstedigt (AI, 424; BI, 394); Skald I, 195; SnE 1848-87, I, 512-13, II, 545, 604, III, 107, SnE 1931, 179, SnE 1998, I, 99.

sources

GKS 2367 4° (R) 39r, 11 - 39r, 12 (SnE)  image  image  image  
Traj 1374x (Tx) 40v, 28 - 40v, 28 (SnE)  image  
AM 744 4°x (744x) 45v - 46r (SnE)  image  
AM 748 II 4° (C) 8v - 8v (SnE)  image  image  
AM 757 a 4° (B) 7r, 2 - 7r, 3 (SnE)  image  image  image  image  
AM 761 a 4°x (761ax) 95v, 16 - 95v, 19 (Skáldatal)  image  
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