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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. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1029> (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, 1237

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

23 — Anon Mhkv 23III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Roberta Frank (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Málsháttakvæði 23’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1237.

Jafnan segir inn ríkri ráð;
rǫskvir menn gefa ǫrnum bráð;
upp at eins er ungum vegar;
engi maðr er roskinn þegar.
Falls er ván at fornu tré;
fleira þykkir gótt, en sé;
auðsénna er annars vamm;
engi kømsk of skapadœgr framm.

Jafnan segir inn ríkri ráð; rǫskvir menn gefa ǫrnum bráð; upp at eins er ungum vegar; engi maðr er þegar roskinn. Er ván falls at fornu tré; fleira þykkir gótt, en sé; vamm annars er auðsénna; engi kømsk framm of skapadœgr.

The more powerful always offers advice; valiant men give raw meat to eagles; only up is the young man’s path; no person is at once fully grown. There is expectation of a fall from an old tree; more seems good than may be; the blemish of another is more easily seen; no one goes beyond his fated day.

Mss: R(55r)

Readings: [3] eins: einn R

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], A. [1]. Málsháttakvæði 23: AII, 135, BII, 143-4, Skald II, 77; Möbius 1874, 10, Wisén 1886-9, I, 76.

Notes: [1]: Cf. the alliterative formula in Anon Sól 36/4-5VII en sá réð, | er ríkr var ‘but he prevailed, who was powerful’. Skj B and Skald emend ríkr to ríkri ‘more powerful’ (as in Mhkv). The Mhkv proverb occurs with the same wording in Clári saga (Cederschiöld 1907, 15.47.5) — [2]: Kennings for ‘warrior’ over and over again identify their subjects as providers of fresh corpses for the beasts of battle. See Meissner 286. — [3] at eins ‘only’: Cf. st. 17/3. The line contains triple (vocalic) alliteration rather than the expected double, as if the second lift in odd lines did not count. — [3] vegar ‘path’: Here gen. sg. (nom. vegr) in an impersonal construction with vera ‘be’ (see Heggstad et al. 2008: 7. vera). — [4] roskinn ‘fully grown’: P. p. of rosknask ‘ripen, grow up’. Related to the preceding (l. 2) adj. rǫskr ‘brave’ < rǫskvast (AEW: rǫskvast). — [5]: Examples of this proverb occur in several sagas: e.g. Kjalnesinga saga (Kjaln ch. 6, ÍF 14, 16): kvað falls ván at fornu tré ‘[he] said [there was] expectation of a fall from an old tree’. — [7]: Hermann Pálsson (1984, 261) cites similar sentences from Seneca and Cato.

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