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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (SnE) 11III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Stanzas from Snorra Edda 11’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 522.

Anonymous LausavísurStanzas from Snorra Edda


This anonymous couplet (Anon (SnE) 11) in runhent metre is transmitted in mss R (main ms.), , U, A, B and C of Skm (SnE). Finnur Jónsson (Skj) assigns it to the tenth century, but that dating is doubtful (see Note to l. 2 below).

text and translation

Hreggskornis vilk handa
háleitan mjǫð vanda.

Vilk vanda háleitan mjǫð … handa … hreggskornis.
‘I wish carefully to prepare the sublime mead … for … of storm-cleaver <eagle>.

notes and context

The couplet is cited in Skm to illustrate that hreggskornir (lit. ‘storm-cleaver’) is a heiti for ‘eagle’ .

The couplet is too fragmentary to allow for a meaningful reconstruction. It clearly refers to the composition of poetry and could have been part of a stanza introducing a longer poem. Kock (NN §844E) argues that the two lines form a syntactic and semantic unit, which he construes as follows: Vilk vanda háleitan mjǫð handa hreggskornis ‘I wish carefully to prepare the sublime mead of the eagle’s hands [POETRY]’. According to him, handa hreggskornis ‘the eagle’s hands’ are the eagle’s claws, and the kenning ‘mead of the eagle’s hands’ refers to the myth which describes how Óðinn, in the shape of an eagle, brought the mead of poetry back to the gods (see Skm, SnE 1998, I, 3-5). That interpretation is not convincing, because Óðinn did not carry the mead back in his ‘claws’; rather, he drank it from the three vats Óðrerir, Boðn and Són and transported it internally, as it were (SnE 1998, I, 4): Í inum fyrsta drykk drakk hann al<t> ór Óðreri, en í ǫðrum ór Boðn, í ínu<m> þriðja ór Són, ok hafði hann þá allan mjǫðinn. Þá brásk hann í arnarham ok flaug sem ákafast ‘With the first sip he drank everything in Óðrerir, and with the second [everything] in Boðn and with the third [everything] in Són, and then he had all the mead. Then he changed himself into the shape of an eagle and flew as hard as he could’.



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], III. A. Om skjaldskab 2: AI, 184, BI, 173, Skald I, 92, NN §844E; SnE 1848-87, I, 492-3, II, 354, 457, 544, 598, III, 101, SnE 1931, 173, SnE 1998, I, 92.


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