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Runic Dictionary

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Hervǫr (Herv)

volume 8; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

VIII. Lausavísur (Lv) - 20

Lausavísur — Herv LvVIII (Heiðr)

Hannah Burrows (forthcoming), ‘ Hervǫr, Lausavísur’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <> (accessed 25 October 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19 

for reference only:  19x 

SkP info: VIII, 372

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Herv Lv 1VIII (Heiðr 13)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 13 (Hervǫr, Lausavísur 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 372.

This group of stanzas is found only in the so-called R and U redactions of the saga, not the H redaction. The preceding prose (and Hb’s text) explains that Hervǫr perpetrated various misdeeds, eventually running away and becoming a stigamaðr ‘highwayman’, until being returned home by Bjarmi jarl. One day, a servant she has maltreated taunts her about her parentage, claiming she is the daughter of inn versti þræll ‘the lowest slave’ (Heiðr 1960, 10). There is nothing in the rest of the saga to suggest this claim had any substance, and Hb does not mention this part of the plot. In these stanzas Hervǫr speaks first to the jarl, bringing the claim before him (Herv Lv 1 (Heiðr 13)), and when he refutes it (Bjarmij Lv 1 (Heiðr 14)) she expresses her desire to visit the grave of her real father, Angantýr, in order to claim her inheritance, and her intention to disguise herself as a man in order to do so (Herv Lv 2-3 (Heiðr 15-16)). She then goes to her mother to ask for help in disguising herself (Herv Lv 4 (Heiðr 17)).

The stanzas are edited in the editions of the saga listed in the main Introduction, and in Skj, Skald and Ettmüller (1861, 31-2). The main ms. is 2845. The metre is fornyrðislag.

Áka ek várri
vegsemð hrósa,
þótt hefði Fróðmars
fengit hylli.
Föður hugðumz ek
fræknan eiga;
er sagðr fyrir mér:
svína hirðir.


I cannot praise our honour, though I might have gained Fróðmarr’s favour. I thought myself to have a brave father; now it is said before me: a herder of swine.

context: Hervǫr is enraged at the slave’s claim that she is the illegitimate child of a slave and goes before Bjarmi jarl.

notes: [1-4]: It is unclear who Fróðmarr, a name only appearing in 2845, may be. At one point in the saga, the text of 2845 refers to a Fróðmarr, a jarl in England, as the foster-father of the second Hervǫr to appear in the story, Hervǫr Heiðreksdóttir. This too seems to be the result of confusion since the other mss have Ormarr here, backed up by another prose reference in the section about the battle of the Goths and Huns (though this occurs in the part of the saga lost from 2845 and thus appears only in the U redaction). It could be that the stanza originally related to this part of the story, however (Heiðr 1956, 75 n.). Ms. 2845 reads hon ‘she’ in place of hefði ‘might have’ in l. 3. This has been followed by several eds, necessitating the emendation of p. p. fengit, which both mss agree on, to pret. fengi (inf. ‘get, gain, win’), giving the sense ‘though she gained Fróðmarr’s favour’. If this reading is correct, the hon must be Hervǫr’s mother and Fróðmarr could possibly be the swineherd, if the stanza is spoken in irony (Heiðr 1956, 75 n.; Heiðr 1960, 91). See Hall (2005, 7-9) for an alternative theory following this reading. Ms. R715ˣ’s reading avoids the problem, though it is still rather obscure in meaning (as well as being unmetrical): Ætla ek várri vegsemð hrósa, þótt hefði bratt manns fengit hylli ‘I intend to praise our honour, though I/she might have soon gained a man’s favour’. The reading preferred in the present edn is also adopted in Skj B.

texts: Heiðr 13

editions: Skj Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: E. 5. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Hervararsaga I 1 (AII, 242; BII, 262); Skald II, 136; Heiðr 1672, 85FSN 1, 431, Heiðr 1873, 311-12, Heiðr 1924, 15, 102-3, FSGJ 2, 11, Heiðr 1960, 10; Edd. Min. 88.


GKS 2845 4° (2845) 64v, 5 - 64v, 7 (Heiðr)  image  image  
UppsUB R 715x (R715x) 11v, 8 - 11v, 11 (Heiðr)  image  
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