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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

III. Málsháttakvæði (Mhkv) - 30

not in Skj

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 27 September 2021)

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

SkP info: III, 1231

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

17 — Anon Mhkv 17III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Roberta Frank (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Málsháttakvæði 17’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1231.

Varla sýnisk alt, sem er,
*ýtum þeim, er bægir drer;
eigi at eins er í fǫgru fengr;
fundit mun, þat er reynt er lengr.
Ekki var þat forðum farald,
Finnan gat þó œrðan Harald,
hánum þótti sólbjǫrt sú,
slíks dœmi verðr mǫrgum nú.

Varla sýnisk alt, sem er, þeim *ýtum, er drer bægir; eigi at eins er fengr í fǫgru; mun fundit, þat er lengr er reynt. Ekki var þat farald forðum; Finnan gat þó Harald œrðan; hánum þótti sú sólbjǫrt; mǫrgum verðr nú dœmi slíks.

All seems hardly as it is to those men afflicted by eye-disease; not only in the beautiful is there gain; that shall come to light which is inquired into the longer. It wasn’t a malady in the old days; still, the Saami girl drove Haraldr out of his mind; to him she seemed bright as the sun; instances of such happen to many now.

Mss: R(55r)

Readings: [1] Varla: ‘V[...]rl[...]’ R, Varla RFJ    [2] *ýtum: ‘sytvm’ R;    bægir drer: ‘bæg[...]er’ R, ‘bægir drers’ RFJ, ‘bægir drer?’ RJS    [4] mun þat er reynt er lengr: ‘[…]g[…]’ R, ‘mvn […] er reynt er lengr’ RFJ    [5, 6, 7, 8] Ekki var þat forðum farald Finnan gat þó œrðan Harald hánum þótti sólbjǫrt slíks dœmi verðr mǫrgum nú: ‘[...]’ R

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], A. [1]. Málsháttakvæði 17: AII, 134, BII, 142, Skald II, 76, NN §55; Möbius 1874, 8, Wisén 1886-9, I, 75.

Notes: [1-2]: One of the few run-on couplets in Mhkv. — [2] *ýtum ‘to those men’: The scribal error that supplied ‘sytvm’ with s- as hǫfuðstafr may have been encouraged by the two words beginning with s- in the previous line; emendation by Jón Sigurðsson. — [2] er drer bægir ‘afflicted by eye-disease’: Lit. ‘whom eye-disease hinders’. Drer ‘cataract, eye-ailment’ is a terminus technicus, attested in poetry only here (see Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, II, 140-1; Møller-Christensen 1976, 642-3; AEW: drør). For bægja e-m ‘distress, hinder sby’, see ONP: bægja 2. Wisén (1886-9, I) could make no sense of the line and replaced it with eigi brýtr gæfumaðr gler ‘a lucky man does not break glass’. — [4]: A favourite proverb in Grettis saga and other sagas: Fleira veit sá, er fleira reynir ‘He learns more who investigates more’ (Gr ch. 14, ÍF 7, 38); Þá veit þat, er reynt er ‘That will be shown when it has been tested’, i.e. ‘that remains to be seen’ (Gr ch. 40, ÍF 7, 136). See also Ísl. Málsh.: reyna. — [4]: The reading here is based on the transcripts of RFJ and RJS, who confirm all the words except for þat.  — [5-8]: The refrain has been supplied from st. 11/5-8.

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