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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ǪlvH Lv 1VIII (HjǪ 17)

Richard L. Harris (ed.) 2017, ‘Hjálmþés saga ok Ǫlvis 17 (Ǫlvir Herrauðsson, Lausavísa 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 509.

Ǫlvir HerrauðssonLausavísa1

text and translation

Hvat skal ek kalla þetta,         hvar þarftu mér bregða,
konungr, um kvensemi,         kátr, um miðnætti?
En hverja hýsnoppu,         sem þú at heiðum finnr,
viltu, at þér í sinni         sé* allar ….

Hvat skal ek kalla þetta, hvar þarftu mér bregða, kátr konungr, um kvensemi um miðnætti? En hverja hýsnoppu, sem þú finnr at heiðum, viltu at allar … sé* þér í sinni?
‘What shall I say to this, why do you need to rouse me, merry king, about desire for women at midnight? And every downy-snouted [girl] that you find on the heaths, do you want all … to be in your company?

notes and context

Ǫlvir responds to Hjálmþér’s jocular suggestion that he take an amorous interest in the sea-ogresses with this stanza. 

The mss show some uncertainty about where this stanza begins and ends. The scribe of ÍBR5ˣ, who usually boldens the stanzas to distinguish them from the prose text, has not written l. 1 in bold and inserts ok kvað vísu ‘and spoke a stanza’ between the end of l. 1 and the beginning of l. 2, indicating that he considered the stanza to begin with l. 2. Both 109a IIIˣ and ÍBR5ˣ have an additional line at the end of the stanza (see Note to l. 8 below), though this is lacking in papp6ˣ, which ends with the word allar. — [5-8]: The syntax of the second helmingr is rather loose, and more than one interpretation is possible. Line 6 follows the readings of 109a IIIˣ and ÍBR5ˣ, but most eds have adopted papp6ˣ’s sem á heiðum finnr. Skj B understands ll. 7-8 as a statement de vil du alle skal følge dig ‘you want them all to follow you’ but Kock (NN §3296B) suggests that these lines are intended as a question, and this is the understanding presented here.



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: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 16. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Hjálmþérs saga ok Ǫlvis III 7: AII, 336, BII, 357, Skald II, 193, NN §3296B; HjǪ 1720, 38, FSN 3, 483, FSGJ 4, 208, HjǪ 1970, 32, 89, 147-8.


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