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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 6VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 6’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 364.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Bragna hvern,        er þú á brautu finnr,
        kveð þú hann kunnliga;
ófróðr er sá,        er einskis spyrr,
        ef finnr at máli mann.

Hvern bragna, er þú finnr á brautu, kveð þú hann kunnliga; sá, er einskis spyrr, er ófróðr, ef finnr mann at máli.
‘Each man whom you meet on the road, greet him intimately; he who does not ask is unwise, if he finds a man to talk to.

notes and context

The version in 624 reads: Bragna hvern, | er þú á braut finnr, | kveð þú hann kunnliga | ok góðum orðum, | þvíat ófróðr er sá, | sem einskis spyrr ‘Greet intimately and with friendly words every man you meet on the road, because he who does not ask is unwise’. The additional l., however, lacks alliteration. — Lat. parallel: (sent. 9) saluta libenter ‘greet willingly’. The idea that one should talk to other people and ask them for news is also expressed in some sts of Hávm. Cf. Hávm 63 (NK, 27): Fregna oc segia | scal fróðra hverr, | sás vill heitinn horskr ‘Asking questions and answering, this every wise man should do, he who wants to be reputed intelligent’ (Larrington 1996, 22). Cf. also Hávm 28 (NK, 21): Fróðr sá þycciz, | es fregna kann, | oc segia hit sama ‘Wise that man seems who knows how to question and how to answer as well’ (Larrington 1996, 18).



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 [XIII], [C. E/5]. Hugsvinnsmál 6: AII, 168, BII, 186, Skald II, 97; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 7, Gering 1907, 2, Tuvestrand 1977, 73, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 27.


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