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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (ÓTHkr) 1I

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísa from Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar in Heimskringla 1’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1073.

Anonymous LausavísurLausavísa from Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar in Heimskringla1

text and translation

Þás sparn á mó Maurnis
morðkunnr Haraldr sunnan,
vas þá Vinða myrðir
vax eitt, í ham faxa;
en bergsalar Birgir
bǫndum rækr í landi
— þat sá ǫld — í jǫldu
óríkr fyrir líki.

Þás morðkunnr Haraldr sparn á {mó Maurnis} sunnan í ham faxa, vas {myrðir Vinða} þá vax eitt, en óríkr Birgir, rækr {bǫndum bergsalar} í landi, fyrir í líki jǫldu; ǫld sá þat.
‘When the battle-famed Haraldr kicked against the heath of Maurnir [?] from the south in the form of a stallion, the killer of the Wends [DANISH KING = Haraldr] was then nothing but wax; and the powerless Birgir, deserving to be driven out by the deities of the rock-hall [GIANTS] in the land, [was] in front in the shape of a mare; people saw that.

notes and context

In Hkr, the Icelanders have passed a law that each person should compose a níðvísa against the Danish king Haraldr Gormsson after an Icelandic vessel shipwrecked in Denmark has been seized under supervision of the king’s steward Birgir. Haraldr, having ravaged parts of Norway, plans to turn his fleet against Iceland to avenge the níð composed against him and his steward. Following the quotation comes the famous episode of the landvættir/landvéttir ‘guardian spirits of the land’, in which a sorcerer sent by Haraldr to reconnoitre Iceland in the shape of a whale is repelled from the shores by fabulous beings. The Danish invasion is called off as a consequence. Jvs refers more briefly to the níð and lacks the landvættir episode.



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 [X], I. A. [3]. Et niddigt om kong Harald blåtand: AI, 176, BI, 166, Skald I, 89, NN §§526, 1092; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 316, IV, 86, ÍF 26, 270-1, Hkr 1991, I, 181-2 (ÓTHkr ch. 33), F 1871, 117; Jvs 1882, 36.


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