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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Refr Frag 4III

Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Hofgarða-Refr Gestsson, Fragments 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 262.

Hofgarða-Refr GestssonFragments


In this helmingr (Refr Frag 4), found in Skm (SnE) (mss R (main ms.), , W, U and A) and LaufE (mss papp10ˣ, 2368ˣ and 743ˣ), the skald praises his weapon, a spear.

text and translation

Kná myrkdreki markaðr
minn, þars ýtar finnask,
æfr á aldar lófum
eikinn bezt at leika.

Æfr, eikinn, markaðr myrkdreki minn kná at leika bezt á lófum aldar, þars ýtar finnask.
‘My furious, raging, ornate dark-dragon <spear> can play best in the hands of people where men meet.

notes and context

This helmingr is given as an example that the spear can be called ‘snake’ in Skm (SnE). In LaufE the half-stanza is cited in the context of a collection for heiti for ‘spear’ as an example that a spear is called ‘oxn’ (presumably an error for orm).



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Hofgarða-Refr Gestsson, 1. Digt om fyrstegaver 2: AI, 319, BI, 295, Skald I, 150, NN §§783, 2801A; SnE 1848-87, I, 430-1, II, 330, 441, III, 83, SnE 1931, 153, SnE 1998, I, 71; LaufE 1979, 306, 398.


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