Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.



Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Anon (Styrb) 1I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísur from Styrbjarnar þáttr Svíakappa 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. 1076.

Anonymous LausavísurLausavísur from Styrbjarnar þáttr Svíakappa

text and translation

Hildr stendr hverjan myrgin
hjaldrs und rauðum skildi;
nú hafa sigrmeyjar settan
sverðleik Dǫnum harðan.
Eiguð víga vægi
(vill Baldrs faðir illan
Óðinn harðr) sem allir
(óljósan val kjósa).

{Hildr hjaldrs} stendr hverjan myrgin und rauðum skildi; nú hafa {sigrmeyjar} settan Dǫnum {harðan sverðleik}. Eiguð víga vægi, sem allir; Óðinn, harðr faðir Baldrs, vill kjósa illan, óljósan val.
‘The Hildr of battle [VALKYRIE] stands every morning under a red shield; now the victory-maidens [VALKYRIES] have established hard sword-play [BATTLE] for the Danes. You have to fight with a sword, like everyone; Óðinn, the hard father of Baldr, wishes to choose the wretched, dark slain.

notes and context

Styrbjǫrn becomes hǫfðingi ‘chieftain’ at Jómsborg. While he is there, a finngálkn mikit ‘great monster’ comes up in the moat around the fortress and speaks this stanza. 

The metre is dróttkvætt but the pattern of hendingar is not regular. — [5-8]: This is a problematic helmingr, which Fms 12 declines to interpret, and the sole text in Flat appears to be corrupt. Ms. ‘ho᷎rdr’ in l. 7 presents particular difficulties. It would appear to be the m. pers. n. Hǫrðr (derived from Hǫrðar, people from Hordaland, ANG §159), but this cannot be construed. (a) Skj B emends to the god-name Hǫðr and proposes an elaborate syntax whereby an intercalary clause is split up into no fewer than four parts, spread across all four lines of the helmingr: Óðinn vill kjósa val vægi ‘Óðinn wishes to choose the slain with a sword’. The resultant main clause is also far from self-evident: Eiguð Hǫðr víga sem allir óljósan fǫður Baldrs illan ‘Hǫðr <god> of battles [WARRIOR], like everyone you make the dark father of Baldr [= Óðinn] angry’ (lit. ‘you have Óðinn bad/hostile’), though the thought may be that Óðinn is ill-willed towards warriors who fall in battle (cf. Eyv Hák 15/4 illúðigr mjǫk ‘very hostile’). Moreover, none of the other stanzas in Styrb shows anything like such elaborate syntax. (b) Kock (NN §529; Skald) also emends ‘ho᷎rdr’ to Hǫðr, but offers a much simpler reading. His proposal for l. 5 is tentatively adopted here; it involves assuming a verb *víga ‘to fight’ alongside the normal vega, on the basis of Gmc parallels. For ll. 6-8 he suggests Faðir Baldrs, Óðinn, Hǫðr sem allir, vill kjósa illan, óljósan val ‘The father of Baldr, Óðinn, Hǫðr and everyone, wish(es) to choose the wretched, foul slain’. The basic structure of Kock’s interpretation is tentatively adopted here (including his emendation of fǫður to faðir); but it is hard to understand how Hǫðr, let alone allir ‘all, everyone’, is involved in the choosing of the slain. Accordingly, emendation is here proposed to the adj. harðr ‘hard’, describing Óðinn; see LP: harðr 2 for the adj. applied to human subjects.



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 [5]. ‘Finngálkn í Jómsborg’: AI, 186-7, BI, 176, Skald I, 94, NN §529; Fms 5, 246-7, Fms 12, 115, Flat 1860-8, II, 71 (Styrb).


Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.


Stanza/chapter/text segment

Use the buttons at the top of the page to navigate between stanzas in a poem.

Information tab

Interactive tab

The text and translation are given here, with buttons to toggle whether the text is shown in the verse order or prose word order. Clicking on indiviudal words gives dictionary links, variant readings, kennings and notes, where relevant.

Full text tab

This is the text of the edition in a similar format to how the edition appears in the printed volumes.

Chapter/text segment

This view is also used for chapters and other text segments. Not all the headings shown are relevant to such sections.