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Runic Dictionary

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Hildibrandr (Hildibrandr)

volume 8; ed. Peter Jorgensen;

Lausavísur (Lv) - 6

Lausavísur — Hildibrandr LvVIII (Ásm)

Not published: do not cite (Hildibrandr LvVIII (Ásm))

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6 

SkP info: VIII, 16

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Hildibrandr Lv 1VIII (Ásm 1)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Peter Jorgensen (ed.) 2017, ‘Ásmundar saga kappabana 1 (Hildibrandr, Lausavísur 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 16.

The following six stanzas, which may originally have been from an independent poem sometimes referred to as ‘Hildibrandr’s Death-song’, are said to have been recited by Hildibrandr as he lay dying. Poems reviewing their lives are said to have been recited by several fornaldarsaga heroes, like Hjálmarr and Ǫrvar-Oddr, just before they die. These stanzas correspond, though with much elaboration on Saxo’s part, to Saxo 2015, I, vii. 9. 14-15, pp. 506-9.

Mjök er vandgætt,
hvé verða skal
um borinn öðrum
at banaorði.
Þik Drótt um bar
af Danmörku
en mik sjálfan
á Svíþjóðu.


It is very difficult to deal with how one must be born to become the slayer of another. Drótt gave birth to you in Denmark and to me myself in Sweden.

context: After Ásmundr has slain a succession of Hildibrandr’s best warriors, Hildibrandr breaks into a berserk rage, slays his own son, and meets Ásmundr at the River Rhine. Hildibrandr’s sword breaks on his adversary’s helmet and flies into the Rhine. Mortally wounded, he utters a poem of six stanzas.

notes: [3, 5]: In both ll. 3 and 5, the first element of the ms.’s of borinn ‘be born’ and of bar ‘bore’ has been normalised to um, to conform to Old Norse usage of the period after 1250. The untranslatable pleonastic particle of occurs most commonly in early poetic texts, and its presence here suggests a lengthy transmission history for this stanza. — [5-6]: These lines are similar to Saxo 2015, I, vii. 9. 14, ll. 9-11, pp. 506-8: ‘Danica te tellus, me Sueticus edidit orbis, | Drot tibi maternum quondam distenderat uber: Hac genitrice tibi pariter collacteus exto’ ‘Danish territory bore you, | Sweden me. Once Drot extended a mother’s | breast to you; I too sucked milk from her teat.’

texts: Ásm 1

editions: Skj Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: E. 12. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Ásmundar saga kappabana I 1 (AII, 320; BII, 340); Skald II, 183, FF §31, NN §2994C; Peringskiöld 1722, 21 (ch. 9), FSN 2, 484-5 (ch. 9), Detter 1891, 98, FSGJ 1, 405 (ch. 9) (Ásm); CPB I, 190, Halvorsen 1951, 11; Edd. Min. 53, NK 313.


Holm perg 7 4° (7) 43r - 43r (Ásm)  image  
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