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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (ÓH) 1I

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísa from Óláfs saga helga 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. 1087.

Anonymous LausavísurLausavísa from Óláfs saga helga1

text and translation

Ôleifr knýr und ôrum
orðsnjallr Visund norðan;
brýtr annarr gramr úti
unnheim dreka sunnan.

Orðsnjallr Ôleifr knýr Visund norðan und ôrum; annarr gramr brýtr {unnheim} dreka sunnan úti.
‘The word-sharp Óláfr [Haraldsson] propels Visundr (‘Bison’) from the north using oars; another monarch cleaves the wave-world [SEA] with a dragon-ship from the south, out at sea.

notes and context

Óláfr launches a fleet southwards, headed by his ship Visundr. Hearing that Knútr inn ríki Sveinsson has called up a leiðangr ‘naval levy’ and is intending to attack Norway, but unable to get reliable confirmation, King Óláfr Haraldsson decides to sail with his choicest troops to Denmark, giving the others leave to go home.

[3-4]: The J2ˣ version of the lines, indeed of the whole helmingr, is clearly an oral variant which departs considerably from the consensus of the other mss. Lines 3-4 would mean ‘The hull cleaves the slopes of waves [SEA] where the valiant prince travels from the east’.



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 om historiske personer og begivenheder [XI], [7]. Lausavísur 4: AI, 425, BI, 395, Skald I, 195; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 348, IV, 141, ÍF 27, 268-9, Hkr 1991, II, 448 (ÓHHkr ch. 144); ÓH 1941, I, 423 (ch. 134), Flat 1860-8, II, 275.


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