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Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

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Mágus jarl (Mágj)

volume 8; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

verses (Lv) - 3

verses — Mágj LvVIII (Mág)

Not published: do not cite (Mágj LvVIII (Mág))

stanzas:  1   2   3 

Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV]: A. 8. Vers af sagaer: Af isl. slægtsagaer: Af Mágus saga, Alle tillagte Mágus (AII, 461, BII, 493-4)

SkP info: VIII, 599

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Mágj Lv 1VIII (Mág 1)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Máguss saga jarls 1 (Mágus jarl, verses 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 599.

Ek hefi vísendi
víst í brjósti
meiri miklu,
en menn vita.
ek, hvar húkir
hirð á bekkjum,
ef herja skal.


I have certainly much more knowledge in my breast than people know. I see where the retinue cowers on the benches, men soft of heart, if there should be any fighting.

context: This and the following two fornyrðislag stanzas are all spoken by Mágus jarl disguised as an old man, Skeljakarl ‘Shell-man’, so named because his clothing is covered with shells. The prose text of the younger recension introduces the stanzas with a detailed description of the man’s appearance and behaviour. He comes before the king and his retinue saying that he is capable of spásǫgur ‘prophecies’. He is on crutches and carries two staves, one of which he places on the floor in front of him. He strokes his hair and combs his beard, so that it spreads over his chest, and shakes his head several times, making a clattering sound, at which the retinue laughs. He then takes a second stave and passes it in front of his eyes, leaps like a cat from an outer to an inner bench and waves the second stave over the men’s heads, speaking a stanza in a low voice.

notes: The longer recension of Mág gives a lot more detailed description of Mágus’ behaviour and equipment than the shorter recension does (cf. Mág 1884, 21-2). All three stanzas qualify as níðvísur ‘insult-stanzas’, intended to defame the retinue of the ruler, Karl, and to draw his attention in particular to the deviousness and malevolence of the men upon whose advice he relies. — [5-6]: See Note to Mág 2/1-2.

texts: Mág 1

editions: Skj [Anonyme digte og vers XIV]: A. 8. Vers af sagaer: Af isl. slægtsagaer: Af Mágus saga 1 (AII, 461; BII, 493); Skald II, 269; Mág 1858, 71, Mág 1963, 132, 442 (Mág).


AM 152 fol (152) 174vb, 6 - 174vb, 9 (Mág)  transcr.  image  
AM 590 a 4°x (590ax) 25v, 13 - 25v, 14 (Mág)  transcr.  image  
Holm papp 58 folx (58x) 320r, 6 - 320r, 11 (Mág)  transcr.  image  
Holm papp 25 8°x (papp25x) 83v, 3 - 83v, 10 (Mág)  transcr.  image  
AM 187 fol (187) -  
AM 535 4°x (535x) -  
AM 948 g 4°x (948gx) -  
ÍBR 6 folx (ÍBR6x) 112, 8 - 112, 10 (Mág)  image  
Lbs 514 4°x (514x) -  
Lbs 1031 4°x (1031x) -  
Lbs 1499 4°x (1499x) - (Mág)  
Lbs 1680 4°x (1680x) -  
Lbs 3120 4°x (3120x) -  
NKS 1787 4°x (1787x) -  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated