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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon Sól 4VII

[6] váligr ‘wicked’: The reading of papp15ˣ and 1441ˣ, explained by LP: forfærdelig, som man kan vænte noget slemt af ‘frightening, from whom one can expect something bad’. 166bˣ, 738ˣ, 155aˣ and 214ˣ have the otherwise unknown word ‘vælligr’. Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 27) argues that this is a form of værligr derived from værr ‘cheerful’, implying that the robber is intending to do good. Interpretation of l. 6 has been problematic: Skj B emends the verb to a negative (hugðit) and translates ti han trode ikke at han var svigfuld ‘for he did not think that he [the guest] was treacherous’. The present translation, following Falk (1914a, 3) and Fidjestøl (1979, 23), indicates that the robber has repented of his previous wickedness and now recognises the obligations of hospitality, though this will cost him his life in the next st. Njörður Njarðvík (1991, 185-6) notes a verbal similarity with Hsv 110/6 ok þykkiz válaðr vera ‘and thinks himself to be wretched’. Falk (1914a, 3) traces the thought that it is possible to atone for the sin of murder with one’s life to the Visio Gottschalchi, ch. 43 (Assmann 1979, 126-7). There however, murderers are warned that if their victim is Christian, they will not be freed from punishment before the Last Judgement, even though they repent of their sin.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  4. Assmann, Erwin, ed. 1979. Godeschalcus und Visio Godeschalci. Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte Schleswig-Holsteins 74. Neumünster: Karl Wachholtz.
  5. Fidjestøl, Bjarne, ed. 1979a. Sólarljóð: Tydning og Tolkningsgrunnlag. Nordisk Instituts skrifteserie 4. Bergen, Oslo and Tromsø: Universitetsforlaget.
  6. Björn Magnússon Ólsen, ed. 1915a. Sólarljóð: gefin út með skíringum og athugasemdum. Safn til sögu Íslands og íslenzkra bókmenta 5.1. Reykjavík: Prentsmiðja Gutenberg.
  7. Falk, Hjalmar, ed. 1914a. Sólarljóð. Videnskapsselskapets skrifter II. Hist.-filos. kl. 7. 2 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  8. Njörður P. Njarðvik, ed. 1991. Sólarljóð. Útgáfa og umfjöllun. Íslensk Rit 10. Reykjavík: Bókmenntafræðistofnun Háskóla Íslands og Menningarsjóður.
  9. Internal references
  10. Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 110’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 425-6.


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