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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hundk Lv 3VIII (HjǪ 33)

Richard L. Harris (ed.) 2017, ‘Hjálmþés saga ok Ǫlvis 33 (Hundingi konungr, Lausavísur 3)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 524.

Hundingi konungrLausavísur

text and translation

Hverr er sá gaurr,         er í gáttum stendr
ok ríss röskliga         við rótakylfu,
gnapir með hettu         ok hyggr at gumna mengi?
Lítt er skúmr sá         at skapi mínu.

Hverr er sá gaurr, er stendr í gáttum ok ríss röskliga við rótakylfu, gnapir með hettu ok hyggr at mengi gumna? Sá skúmr er lítt at skapi mínu.
‘Who is that ruffian, who stands in the doorway and rises up bravely with a club, stoops forward with his hood and surveys the multitude of men? That chatterer is little to my mind.

notes and context

King Hundingi asks the identity of Hǫrðr, the swineherd, in this stanza.

This stanza includes many terms of insult or unconcealed disdain for the supposed swineherd, several of which also appear in Hjálmþérsrímur V, 28 (Finnur Jónsson 1905-22, II, 37), including gaurr ‘ruffian’ (l. 1), í gáttum ‘in the doorway’ (l. 2) and kylfa (rótakylfa ‘club’, l. 4). The word gaurr ‘ruffian, boor’ (l. 1) is a term frequently used of low-class, uncourtly men in translated romances and rímur (cf. ONP: gaurr; Finnur Jónsson 1926-8, 124). Demeaning descriptive details include mention of Hǫrðr’s liminal position in the doorway, his wielding a club rather than a higher-class weapon like a sword, and his stooping posture with his head covered by a hood.



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 IV 12: AII, 339, BII, 360, Skald II, 195; HjǪ 1720, 50, FSN 3, 493-4, FSGJ 4, 219, HjǪ 1970, 41, 95, 157.


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