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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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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.

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

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.

Mss: 1824b(66r), 147(104v) (Ragn); Hb(106r) (RagnSon)

Readings: [1] Hyggjum at áðr heitim: so Hb, Hyggjum at hinu áðr heiman farim 1824b, ‘Hyg(g)ium (at hin[…]dur heim) […]’(?) 147    [2] at hefnt megi verða: ‘at (h(e)fnt (megi) verda)’(?) 147    [3] ýmsu illu: so Hb, ýmsa illa 1824b, ‘ymsa ill(a)’(?) 147    [4] Agnars bana fagna: ‘agnarrs (bana) f(a)gna’(?) 147    [5] Skjótum húf á hrannir: ‘[…]((h)yd)um (huf ꜳ̋ hra) […]’(?) 147, ‘hrindvm hvf a rannir’ Hb    [6] höggum ís fyrir barði: ‘h[…]ggvum is fyrir (landi)’(?) 147    [7] sjám á hitt: ‘[…] (h)itt’(?) 147;    hvé: hverr Hb    [8] snemst vér: ‘(s)nem(z) […]’(?) 147, varr snemzt with varr corrected from vér and ‘arr’ written above the line Hb;    fáim búnar: so Hb, megu búnar 1824b, ‘[…] (bunar)’(?) 147

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.

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. — [6] skjótum ‘let us thrust’: The Hb reading hrindum, meaning just the same as skjótum in the context, is not adopted here by any previous ed. apart from those of CPB (not even by Finnur in Hb 1892-6), presumably because it would make for excessive alliteration (of <h>) in the line. — [7-8] hvé … vér … ‘how … we …’: The Hb reading of these lines, which has hverr m. nom. sg. ‘who, which (one’), for hvé ‘how’ and corrects vér ‘we’ to ‘varr’ i.e. várr ‘our’, ‘of us’, m. nom. sg., see the Readings, above, would produce the translation ‘which (one) of us’, with the 1st pers. pl. poss. adj. várr ‘of us’ used in a partitive sense, cf. Finnur’s normalised text and translation, Hb 1892-6, 461. — [7-8] fáim búnar snekkjur ‘we can get the ships prepared’: The Hb reading fáim is preferred here to 1824b’s megu(m), which, however, Rafn (FSN) and Örnólfur Thorsson (Ragn 1985), are exceptional among previous eds in retaining. The verb mega ‘may, can, know how to’ is used more readily with the inf. than with a p. p. (such as búnar ‘prepared’), and these two eds are no doubt assuming an understood inf. here (i.e. megum fá snekkjur búnar ‘may be able to get ships prepared’), since ‘get’ is used readily enough with the p. p. in the sense of ‘get something done’, see Heggstad et al. 2008: 6. It should be noted that Finnur Jónsson's normalised text in Hb 1892-6, 461 has the 3rd pers. sg. pres. subj. form fái ‘may/can get’ here, supplying by emendation a sg. verb form to follow the sg. subject indicated by the Hb reading hverr ... várr ‘which ... of us’; see the previous Note.

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