This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

login: password: stay logged in: help

Hvítserkr Ragnarsson (HvítRagn)

volume 8; ed. Rory McTurk;

VIII. Lausavísa (Lv) - 1

not in Skj

Lausavísa — HvítRagn LvVIII (Ragn)

Rory McTurk (forthcoming), ‘ Hvítserkr Ragnarsson, Lausavísa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <> (accessed 28 November 2021)


SkP info: VIII, 666

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — HvítRagn Lv 1VIII (Ragn 21)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Ragnars saga loðbrókar 21 (Hvítserkr Ragnarsson, Lausavísa 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 666.

Hyggjum at, áðr heitim,
at hefnt megi verða;
látum ýmsu illu
Agnars bana fagna.
Skjótum húf á hrannir,
höggum ís fyrir barði;
sjám á hitt, hvé snekkjur
snemst vér fáim búnar.


Let us think before we promise [anything], so that vengeance may be achieved; let us allow Agnarr’s slayer to encounter various misfortunes. Let us thrust the hulk onto the waves, let us hack away the ice before the prow; let us see to this: how we can get the ships prepared as soon as may be.

context: Hvítserkr now has his say, emphasising the need to avenge the slaying of Agnarr and to embark on the revenge mission as soon as possible, after first removing the ice enclosing their frozen ships.

notes: [1-4]: There is a difference between 1824b and 147 on the one hand and, on the other, Hb, which is followed here, in the presentation of these lines. Whereas the Hb text has four regular dróttkvætt lines, the corresponding five lines in 1824b are as follows:

Hyggjum at hinu,
áðr heiman farim,
at hefnt megi verða;
látum ýmsa illa
Agnars bana fagna.

Prose order: Hyggjum at hinu, áðr farim heiman, at megi verða hefnt; látum ýmsa fagna bana Agnars illa. Translation: Let us consider this, before we leave home, that vengeance may be achieved; let us allow various people to give Agnarr’s slayer an evil welcome. While ll. 4 and 5 of the stanza in 1824b do in fact conform, apart from the lack of internal rhyme in l. 4, to the dróttkvætt pattern, the first three lines seem to constitute a ljóðaháttr half-stanza. It is true that the third line in such a half-stanza would normally be expected to have independent double (sometimes triple) alliteration, but, as Sievers (1893, 83-4; cf. Bliss 1971, 442-3) indicates, it may occasionally have only one alliterating word, which continues the alliteration of the preceding pair of lines. The word in question here is hefnt, p. p. of hefna ‘avenge’. These five lines thus constitute a half-stanza combining ljóðaháttr metre (in ll. 1-3) with a close approximation to dróttkvætt metre in ll. 4 and 5, a rare hybrid form. Apart from Rafn (FSN), who, like Olsen in his diplomatic text (Ragn 1906-8, 145) follows the text of 1824b, all previous eds (including Olsen (Ragn 1906-8, 209) and Finnur Jónsson in Skj B) have adopted Hb’s text. — [1-4]: Various interpretations of these lines have been proposed by earlier eds, depending on which variants they adopt into their edited texts. (a) Assuming that ll. 1-2 and 3-4 form separate clauses, and adopting the Hb readings ýmsu (n. dat. sg. of ýmiss ‘various, many a’) and illu, as in this edn, Ragn 1891 and Ragn 1985, gives the overall meaning ‘Let us think before we promise, so that vengeance may be achieved. Let us allow Agnarr’s slayer to encounter various misfortunes’. (b) In Skj B Finnur Jónsson dispenses with the comma after heitim in his earlier reading of the Hb text, takes bana (Agnars) as the dat. (patient) object of hefnt, thus giving the meaning ‘let us think before we promise that vengeance may be taken on Agnarr’s slayer’, and adopts the 1824b reading ýmsa (m. acc. pl.) but retains the Hb reading illu, n. dat. sg. of illr ‘bad’, taking the latter as substantival and the object of fagna ‘greet, encounter’, thus giving the meaning ‘let us allow various people to encounter misfortune’. So also Olsen (Ragn 1906-8, 209-10), acknowledging Finnur’s help. Eskeland (Ragn 1944), Guðni Jónsson (FSGJ), and Ebel (Ragn 2003) retain the comma after heitim but otherwise follow Skj B, thus giving (presumably) the meaning ‘Let us think before we promise anything, so that vengeance on Agnarr’s slayer may be achieved. Let us allow various people …’, etc. (c) Keeping 1824b’s readings ýmsa illa, it would be possible (as in the translation offered above in the first Note to ll. 1-4) to interpret ýmsa m. acc. pl., ‘various [people]’ as the object of látum ‘let us allow’, with inf. fagna ‘welcome’ (qualified by illa, adv. ‘badly’) as object complement: ‘let us allow various people to welcome badly …’, i.e. ‘give an evil welcome to …’, and bana (Agnars), m. dat. sg., as the object of fagna, with the idea of giving Agnarr’s slayer an ‘evil welcome’ (lit. ‘welcome Agnarr’s slayer badly’). Cf. the name of the allegorical figure Malvenu ‘Ill-come’ (as opposed to bienvenu ‘welcome’), the porter at the entrance to the House of Pride in Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene, Book I, Canto IV, st. 6.

texts: Ragn 21, RagnSon

editions: Skj Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: E. 2. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Ragnarssaga loðbrókar V 11 (AII, 237; BII, 256); Skald II, 133, NN §1460; FSN 1, 268 (Ragn ch. 9), Ragn 1891, 200 (ch. 9), Hb 1892-6, 461 (RagnSon ch. 2), Ragn 1906-8, 145, 209-10 (ch. 10), Ragn 1944, 74-5 (ch. 10), FSGJ 1, 255 (Ragn ch. 10), Ragn 1985, 129 (ch. 10), Ragn 2003, 41 (ch. 10), CPB II, 349.


NKS 1824 b 4° (1824b) 66r, 5 - 66r, 8 (Ragn)  transcr.  image  
AM 147 4° (147) 104v, 7 - 104v, 8 (Ragn)  transcr.  image  image  
AM 544 4° (Hb) 106r - 106r (RagnSon)  image  image  
© Skaldic Project Academic Body, unless otherwise noted. Database structure and interface developed by Tarrin Wills. All users of material on this database are reminded that its content may be either subject to copyright restrictions or is the property of the custodians of linked databases that have given permission for members of the skaldic project to use their material for research purposes. Those users who have been given access to as yet unpublished material are further reminded that they may not use, publish or otherwise manipulate such material except with the express permission of the individual editor of the material in question and the General Editor of the volume in which the material is to be published. Applications for permission to use such material should be made in the first instance to the General Editor of the volume in question. All information that appears in the published volumes has been thoroughly reviewed. If you believe some information here is incorrect please contact Tarrin Wills with full details.