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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 18 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, 1229

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

15 — Anon Mhkv 15III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Roberta Frank (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Málsháttakvæði 15’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1229.

Auðigr þykkir einn sér hvar;
annars ðir margr of far;
ørgrands erum vér lengst á leit;
lundvær þykkir bezta sveit.
Skammæ þykkja ófin ǫll;
ekki mart er verra en trǫll;
eigi spillir hyggins hjali;
hefkat ek spurt, at

Einn þykkir sér auðigr hvar; margr ðir of far annars; vér erum lengst á leit ørgrands; lundvær sveit þykkir bezta. Ǫll ófin þykkja skammæ; ekki mart er verra en trǫll; eigi spillir hjali hyggins; hefkat ek spurt, at

A lone man seems to himself rich everywhere; many a one speaks about the conduct of another; we seek longest after the flawless; peaceable company seems the best. Everything beyond the mean seems short-lived; not much is worse than a troll; nothing spoils the talk of a wise man; I have not heard that …

Mss: R(54v-55r)

Readings: [1] Auðigr: ‘A[...]gr’ R, auðigr(?) RFJ;    þykkir: ‘þi[...]k[...]’ R, ‘þicker’ RFJ;    einn sér: sér einn R;    hvar: ‘hv[...]’ R, hvar RFJ    [2] ðir: ‘[...]þ[...]’ R, ‘ræþer’ RFJ    [3] ørgrands: ‘avrgrannz’ R    [4] lundvær: ‘l[...]ær’ R, lundvær RFJ;    þykkir: ‘þick[...]’ R, ‘þicker’ RFJ;    sveit: ‘[...]’ R, sveit RFJ    [5] Skammæ: ‘sk[...]’ R, skammæ RFJ, skammr RJS;    ófin: ‘[...]’ R, ofin RFJ    [7] eigi spillir: ‘[...]pillir’ R, ‘engi spiller’ RFJ    [8] at : ‘[...]’ R, ‘at [...]’ RFJ, RJS

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], A. [1]. Málsháttakvæði 15: AII, 133, BII, 141-2, Skald II, 76, NN §3273; Möbius 1874, 7, Wisén 1886-9, I, 75.

Notes: [1] einn ... sér ‘a lone man ... to himself’: Changed in all eds from sér einn (R) for sake of metre (to avoid alliteration falling on the unstressed syllable in metrical position 6). — [3] ørgrands ‘the flawless’: M. or n. gen. sg. of the adj. ørgrandr. Möbius (1874), Wisén (1886-9, I) and Skj B interpret the ms. reading as the adj. ørgrannr ‘tiny, very little’; NN §3273, followed here, argues for the adj. ørgrandr ‘without blame, flawless’. — [5]: On this sententia, found in three other Old Norse texts, see Foote (1988). — [6] trǫll ‘a troll’: Elsewhere in skaldic verse the form is troll. For these variant forms, see ANG §167 and AEW: troll. — [8] at ‘that …’: Most previous eds supply bersa kali ‘a bear freezes’, where the verb kali ‘freezes’ is 3rd pers. sg. subj. used impersonally and bersa ‘bear’ acc. sg. of bersi. This conjectural reading by Jón Sigurðsson has taken a firm grip on scholarship. Adherents of Bishop Bjarni’s authorship of Mhkv have used it (along with bersi in st. 6/8) as supporting evidence: bersi = Bjarni < bjǫrn ‘bear’ (see, e.g. LH II, 48). Guðbrandur Vigfússon suggested the emendation (at) hvatan dvali ‘the bold man never delays’ (Möbius 1874, 33), but it did not find a home in CVC.

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