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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Svart Skauf 17VIII

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Svartr á Hofstöðum, Skaufhala bálkr 17’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 966.

Svartr á HofstöðumSkaufhala bálkr

Svó lauk skiftum         skolla og sauðar,
að grákollur         giekk frá lífi.
Bjóz dratthali         burt* heim þaðan;
hafði sauð feingið         sier til vista.

Svó lauk skiftum skolla og sauðar, að grákollur giekk frá lífi. Dratthali bjóz burt* heim þaðan; hafði feingið sauð til vista sier.

The dealings of the fox and the sheep ended in such a way that grey-skull departed from life. Dragging-tail prepared to set off home from there; he had obtained a sheep for his provisions.

Mss: 603(82), Rask87ˣ(113v)

Readings: [5] Bjóz: bjóz þá Rask87ˣ;    dratthali: so Rask87ˣ, ‘drattali’ 603    [6] burt*: burtu 603, Rask87ˣ;    heim: om. Rask87ˣ

Editions: Kölbing 1876, 243, Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 231, CPB II, 383, Jón Þorkelsson 1922-7, 156, Páll Eggert Ólason 1947, 62.

Notes: [All]: This stanza concludes the adventure of the fox related in sts 15-17. — [3] grákollur ‘grey-skull’: Koll(u)r ‘head’ can denote an animal without horns. The corresponding f. noun ‑kolla ‘female animal without horns’ is often combined with terms for colour (cf. svartkolla ‘black ewe’, gulkolla ‘yellow ewe’, etc.). Earlier eds (except Jón Þorkelsson 1922-7) omit the excrescent [u] in ‑kollur, which makes the line hypometrical. See Note to st. 13/5. — [6] burt* ‘away’: Burtu (so both mss) has been retained by earlier eds (except Páll Eggert Ólason 1947, who emends to í burt), which makes the line as it stands in 603 unmetrical. The Rask87ˣ variant, burtu þaðan (omitting heim ‘home’) requires suspended resolution on the second lift, and monosyllabic burt is more common with verbs of motion than the disyllabic burtu as late as the C16th (see Bandle 1956, 435 and Note to st. 3/1).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Bandle, Oskar. 1956. Die Sprache der Guðbrandsbiblía. BA 17. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  3. CPB = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and F. York Powell, eds. 1883. Corpus poeticum boreale: The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1965, New York: Russell & Russell.
  4. Jón Þorkelsson [J. Thorkelsson]. 1888. Om digtningen på Island i det 15. og 16. århundrede. Copenhagen: Høst & søns forlag.
  5. Kölbing, Eugen. 1876. Beiträge zur vergleichenden Geschichte der romantischen Poesie und Prosa des Mittelalters unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der englishen und nordischen litteratur. Breslau: Koebner.
  6. Páll Eggert Ólason, ed. 1947. Kvæðasafn 1300-1600. Vol. 2 of Einar Ólafur Sveinsson et al., eds. Íslands þúsund ár. 4 vols. Reykjavík: Helgafell.

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