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Runic Dictionary

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

III. Málsháttakvæði (Mhkv) - 30

5: Málsháttakvæði (‘Proverb poem’) — Anon MhkvIII

Roberta Frank 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Málsháttakvæði’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1213. <> (accessed 22 September 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30 

Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: A. [1]. Málsháttakvæði, Et orknøsk(?) digt, omkr. 1200. (AII, 130-6, BII, 138-45)

SkP info: III, 1216

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Anon Mhkv 1III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Roberta Frank (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Málsháttakvæði 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1216.

dylja má, þess er einn hverr segir;

… eitt bregzk hóti síðr.
Fœra ætlum forn orð saman;
flestir henda at nøkkvi gaman;
gleði minnar veit geipun sjá;
griplur er sem hendi þá.

þegir; má dylja, þess er einn hverr segir; … eitt bregzk hóti síðr. Ætlum fœra forn orð saman; flestir henda gaman at nøkkvi; sjá geipun veit gleði minnar; er þá, sem hendi griplur.

… is silent; what any one person says can be denied; … only deceives somewhat less. We [I] intend to bring ancient sayings together; most people take pleasure in something; this nonsense shows my good cheer; it is then as if one gathers pickings.

Mss: R(54v)

Readings: [1] þegir: ‘[...]eg[...]’ R, ‘þeger’ RFJ, þegir RJS    [2] hverr: ‘hv[...]r’ R, ‘hve[...]r’ RFJ, hverr RJS;    segir: ‘[...]g[...]’ R, ‘seg[...]’ RFJ, segir RJS    [5] saman: ‘sam[...]’ R, RFJ, saman RJS    [6] flestir henda at nøkkvi gaman: ‘[...]gama[...]’ R, ‘[...]da at navkq[...] gama[...]’ RFJ, ‘fl[...]da at navkq[...]gama[...]’ RJS

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], A. [1]. Málsháttakvæði 1: AII, 130-1, BII, 138, Skald II, 73; Möbius 1874, 3, Wisén 1886-9, I, 73.

Notes: [1] þegir ‘is silent’: Only the second and third letters are now visible; both Finnur Jónsson and Jón Sigurðsson report an initial <þ>. A call for silence traditionally opened a formal poem: see en lið þagni ‘and let the people keep silent’ (Anon Leið 2/8VII), vilk, at gegn lið þagni ‘I desire that the honest people keep silence’ (Anon Leið 5/3VII). Both RvHbreiðm Hl 43/10-12 and SnSt Ht 85/5-6 rhyme þegja ‘be silent’ with segja ‘say’, as here. Bjbp Jóms 1/5-8I inverts this tradition (‘I will bring forth the beer of Yggr <= Óðinn> [POEM] before people, although no well-born men may listen to me’). — [2]: Cf. Grettis saga (Gr ch. 46, ÍF 7, 146): en jafnan er hálfsǫgð saga, ef einn segir ‘one man tells only half a tale’; Flóres saga ok Blankiflúr (Flór ch. 22, Kölbing 1896, 71): er ok ósagt frá ef einn segir ‘it is [as if] untold if only one tells it’. — [5] ætlum ‘we [I] intend’: For 1st pers. pl. verb with sg. meaning, see st. 29/6; with pl. meaning, sts 6/2, 14/4, 15/3, 19/2, 26/4. — [6]: The emendations in this line, first proposed by Jón Sigurðsson, have been followed by subsequent eds. Möbius (1874, 25) compares the Icelandic proverb: hverr kveður sér gaman ‘each decides his own joy’. The verb henda ‘seize, catch’ occurs three more times in Mhkv (sts 1/8, 10/6, 11/4), as if prominent in the poet’s mind as he searched for hendingarorð ‘rhyme-words’. — [8] griplur ‘pickings’: Pl. of gripla; see Fritzner: gripla. The term appears elsewhere in Old Norse only in Elucidarius (Eluc 1989, 43), where the name Adam is analysed as an acronym: þat er sem griplur hendi til nafns Adams ‘that is as if one gathers up elements of the name Adam’.

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