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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Vagn Lv 1I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Vagn Ákason, Lausavísa 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. 366.

Vagn ÁkasonLausavísa1

text and translation

Sigvaldi hefr setta
sjalfa oss und kylfu,
en fárhugaðr fnauði
fór heim til Danmarkar.
Hyggr í faðm at falla
fljótt vinkonu sinni,
en fyr borð it breiða
Búi gekk með hugrekki.

Sigvaldi hefr setta oss sjalfa und kylfu, en fárhugaðr fnauði fór heim til Danmarkar. Hyggr at falla fljótt í faðm vinkonu sinni, en Búi gekk fyr it breiða borð með hugrekki.
‘Sigvaldi has put us ourselves under the cosh, but the little-hearted coward has gone home to Denmark. He thinks to fall swiftly into the embrace of his lady-friend, but Búi has gone over the broad gunwale with courage.

notes and context

At a point in the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen) when the division and defeat of the Jómsvíkingar has become apparent, and victory looks assured for the Norwegian jarls Hákon Sigurðarson and his son Eiríkr, Sigvaldi, leader of the Jómsvíkingar, flees and (in 291) calls for others to flee too. Vagn speaks the stanza (in 291 as a direct response to Sigvaldi).

[5-8]: The second helmingr sets up a familiar skaldic contrast between the coward at home with a woman, and the brave man in battle (cf., e.g., Vígf Lv, Anon Liðs 3).



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], Tillæg [1]. Vagn Ákason: AI, 185-6, BI, 175, Skald I, 93; Jvs 1879, 86, Jvs 1882, 118, Jvs 1962, 37-8, Jvs 1969, 188, 216, Flat 1860-8, I, 194


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