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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 20 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, 1220

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — Anon Mhkv 6III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Roberta Frank (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Málsháttakvæði 6’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1220.

Fylki skal til frægðar hafa;
fregna eigum langt til gafa;
oddar gerva jarli megin;
útsker verða af bárum þvegin.
Ýmsir bjóða ǫðrum fár;
ormar skríða ór hamsi á vár;
vel hefr sá, er þat líða lætr;
langar eiga þeir bersi nætr.

Til frægðar skal hafa fylki; eigum fregna langt til gafa; oddar gerva jarli megin; útsker verða þvegin af bárum. Ýmsir bjóða ǫðrum fár; ormar skríða ór hamsi á vár; sá hefr vel, er lætr þat líða; þeir bersi eiga langar nætr.

One shall have a prince for glory; we ought to hear of a fool from far off; spears give strength to a jarl; outer skerries are washed by waves. Many offer harm to another; snakes slither from their slough in spring; he comes off well who lets it pass by; a bear and his kind have long nights.

Mss: R(54v)

Readings: [2] gafa: ‘gava’ R

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], A. [1]. Málsháttakvæði 6: AII, 132, BII, 139, Skald II, 74; Möbius 1874, 4, Wisén 1886-9, I, 73-4.

Notes: [1]: A saying attributed to Magnús berfœttr in Magnúss saga berfœtts (MberfHkr, ÍF 28, 237): til frægðar skal konung hafa, en ekki til langlífis ‘one shall have a king for glory and not for long life’. — [2] gafa ‘a fool’: M. nom. sg. gafi ‘buffoon, griffon’: a crux. See LP, LP (1860), AEW: gafi; Fritzner IV: gafe. The word gafi ‘griffon’ translates Lat. gryps ‘griffon’, the four-footed bird of fable, in Stjórn (Unger 1862, 316; Levit XI.12-13). Cf. ON gafi ‘gull’ < Lat. gavia ‘sea-bird’, and especially Isidore, Etym. 12.2.17 on the dreaded gripes, part lion, part eagle, born in the distant Hyperborean mountains, which ‘tear humans apart when they see them’. For gafi ‘buffoon’, cf. OE gaff, gegaf ‘foolish behaviour’, gafspræc ‘gossip, ribaldry’ and saga-proverbs such as in Grettis saga (Gr ch. 59, ÍF 7, 189): spyrja mun þér bezt þykkja við hann at eiga ‘hearsay will be the safest way for you to handle him’; Hœnsa Þóris saga (ch. 6, ÍF 3, 18): spyrja er bezt til váligra þegna ‘it is best only to hear about wicked men’; also Fóstbrœðra saga (Fbr ch. 4, ÍF 6, 137); so Möbius (1874) followed by Wisén (1886-9, I): ‘vir improbus’. — [3]: Jarls are depicted here as elsewhere as the prototype of violent behaviour. — [5] ǫðrum ‘to another’: This could also be pl. (‘to others’). — [8]: The ‘night of a bear’ is a kenning for winter: cf. HSt Rst 13/1I. Wisén (1886-9, I, 74) emends þeir bersi ‘the bear and his kind’ to bersar ‘bears’.

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