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 (SnE) 17III

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Stanzas from Snorra Edda 17’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 529.

Anonymous LausavísurStanzas from Snorra Edda


This fragment of a poem (Anon (SnE) 17) – quoted in Skm (SnE) to illustrate the term allvaldr ‘mighty ruler’ – is in praise of a ruler whose father is called Sveinn. Finnur Jónsson (Skj) suggests this may be S. Knútr Sveinsson of Denmark (d. 10 July 1086), and proposes a possible date of 1080. More likely, though, is that the king concerned is the earlier Knútr inn ríki ‘the Great’ Sveinsson (d. 13 November 1035), and that the poem dates from the 1020s. In favour of this are the following points: (1) Knútr inn ríki was a more energetic patron of skaldic verse than S. Knútr (see Frank 1994b; Townend 2001). (2) Austr ok suðr ‘east and south’ (l. 2) probably suggests an Anglocentric perspective – readily intelligible for poetry composed and/or delivered in England (as for Knútr inn ríki) but less so for poetry from Denmark (as for S. Knútr). (3) The insistence that Knútr inn ríki is sonr Sveins ‘son of Sveinn’ (l. 3) is one of the most prominent features in poems in his honour (see Frank 1994b, 112). (4) Though less conclusive, it may be that the term allvaldr is more in keeping with the imperial ambitions of Knútr inn ríki than those of S. Knútr (on skaldic terms for Knútr inn ríki, see Frank 1994a). The conclusion, albeit provisional, that this fragment is in honour of Knútr inn ríki was shared by the scribe (Árni Magnússon) of the post-medieval ms. 761aˣ (c. 1700), who wrote beside his copy of the stanza on fol. 95v: Þetta er liklegast ur kvæði Hallvarðs hareks blesa um Knut Sveinsson Dana og Eingla konung ‘This is most probably from Hallvarðr Háreksblesi’s poem about Knútr Sveinsson, king of the Danes and English’. This is a shrewd guess, but while the (admittedly brief) fragment presented here is stylistically in keeping with Hallvarðr’s poem (Hallv Knútdr; preserved mostly in Skm), there are metrical differences: Hallv Knútdr is composed in the dróttkvætt variant skjálfhent ‘tremble-rhymed’, whereas the present helmingr is in regular dróttkvætt. The fragment is preserved in mss R (main ms.), , B and C of Skm (SnE). Because ms. B(7r) is now mostly illegible here, 744ˣ has been used in its place.

text and translation

Allvalda kannk alla
austr ok suðr of flausta
(Sveins es sonr at reyna)
setr (hverjum gram betri).

Kannk alla allvalda austr ok suðr of {setr flausta}; {sonr Sveins} es betri hverjum gram at reyna.
‘I know all mighty rulers east and south across the abode of ships [SEA]; Sveinn’s son [= Knútr] is better to deal with than any other ruler.

notes and context

This stanza is quoted in Skm to illustrate the use of allvaldr as a nafn ókent ‘non-periphrastic term’ for ‘man’, and introduced with svá sem hér er kveðit ‘as is said here’.

[1]: This line has aðalhending (all : all) rather than the expected skothending.



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], [6]. Af et fyrstedigt: AI, 424, BI, 394, Skald I, 195; SnE 1848-87, I, 512-13, II, 545, 604, III, 107, SnE 1931, 179, SnE 1998, I, 99.


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.