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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ólhv Frag 2III

Tarrin Wills (ed.) 2017, ‘Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson, Fragments 2’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 303.

Óláfr hvítaskáld ÞórðarsonFragments

text and translation

Þat hefk sagt,
es sjálfr vissak;
dulðr ferk hins,
es drengr þegir.

Þat hefk sagt, es vissak sjálfr; ferk dulðr hins, es drengr þegir.
‘I have said what I knew myself; I am ignorant of what the man is [I am] silent about.

notes and context

Cited as an example of perissologia, that is, the superfluous addition of words, here in the repetition of the general point of the first couplet in the second (TGT 1927, 57): Hér þarf ekki hit síðarra mál, þvíat þat má skilja, ef maðr segir þat, er hann veit, at hann þegir yfir því, er hann veit eigi ‘Here the last clause is not needed because it may be understood that if a man says what he knows, he will be silent about what he does not know’.

The attribution to Óláfr is based on the similarity to this stanza with the corresponding example in Donatus (Keil 1855-80, IV, 395), ibant qua poterant, qua non poterant non ibant ‘they went wherever they could; where they could not, they did not go’. The examples are close in their structure, although the Old Norse version is adapted for what may be a closing stanza to a kviðuháttr poem. This is one of a number of unattributed kviðuháttr fragments of one or more poems. See Anon (TGT) 13, Note to [All] for related stanzas.


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 [XII], C. Vers om ubestemmelige personer og begivenheder 39: AI, 601, BI, 601, Skald I, 293; SnE 1818, 318, SnE 1848, 187, SnE 1848-87, II, 124-5, 413, TGT 1884, 19, 81, 192, TGT 1927, 57, 98.


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