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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mhkv 1III

Roberta Frank (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Málsháttakvæði 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1216.

Anonymous PoemsMálsháttakvæði

text and translation

dylja má, þess er einn hverr segir;

… eitt bregzk hóti síðr.
Fœra ætlum forn orð saman;
flestir henda at nøkkvi gaman;
gleði minnar veit geipun sjá;
griplur er sem hendi þá.

þegir; má dylja, þess er einn hverr segir; … eitt bregzk hóti síðr. Ætlum fœra forn orð saman; flestir henda gaman at nøkkvi; sjá geipun veit gleði minnar; er þá, sem hendi griplur.
‘… is silent; what any one person says can be denied; … only deceives somewhat less. We [I] intend to bring ancient sayings together; most people take pleasure in something; this nonsense shows my good cheer; it is then as if one gathers pickings.

notes and context

[2]: Cf. Grettis saga (Gr ch. 46, ÍF 7, 146): en jafnan er hálfsǫgð saga, ef einn segir ‘one man tells only half a tale’; Flóres saga ok Blankiflúr (Flór ch. 22, Kölbing 1896, 71): er ok ósagt frá ef einn segir ‘it is [as if] untold if only one tells it’. — [6]: The emendations in this line, first proposed by Jón Sigurðsson, have been followed by subsequent eds. Möbius (1874, 25) compares the Icelandic proverb: hverr kveður sér gaman ‘each decides his own joy’. The verb henda ‘seize, catch’ occurs three more times in Mhkv (sts 1/8, 10/6, 11/4), as if prominent in the poet’s mind as he searched for hendingarorð ‘rhyme-words’.



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], A. [1]. Málsháttakvæði 1: AII, 130-1, BII, 138, Skald II, 73; Möbius 1874, 3, Wisén 1886-9, I, 73.


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