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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mhkv 10III

Roberta Frank (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Málsháttakvæði 10’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1224.

Anonymous PoemsMálsháttakvæði

text and translation

Sitt mein þykkir sárast hveim;
sáttargǫrð er ætluð tveim;
oddamaðr fæsk opt inn þriði;
jafntrúr skal sá hvárra liði.
Engi of dœmir sjálfan sik;
slíkt ætlak nú henda mik;
ýta lið þótt alt fari byrst,
engi læzk því valda fyrst.

Mein sitt þykkir hveim sárast; sáttargǫrð er ætluð tveim; oddamaðr fæsk opt inn þriði; jafntrúr skal sá hvárra liði. Engi of dœmir sjálfan sik; ætlak slíkt nú henda mik; þótt alt lið ýta fari byrst, læzk engi valda því fyrst.
‘His own pain seems the sorest to each man; it takes two to arrange terms of settlement; often an arbitrator is brought in as a third; he must be equally fair to both sides. No one passes sentence on himself; I suppose such will happen to me now; though all the troop of men go bristling, no one allows that he caused that first.

notes and context

[1]: For similar proverbs, see Ísl. Málsh.: mein, sár. — [2-4]: The compounds beginning each of these three lines are not attested elsewhere in verse but are staples of C13th legal and homiletic prose. — [5]: For other examples of this proverb, see Ísl. Málsh.: dæma.


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 10: AII, 132, BII, 140, Skald II, 75; Möbius 1874, 6, Wisén 1886-9, I, 74.


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