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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Svart Skauf 37VIII

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Svartr á Hofstöðum, Skaufhala bálkr 37’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 981.

Svartr á HofstöðumSkaufhala bálkr

‘Mun eg til rekkju         reika verða;
mier tekr verkur         að vaxa í síðu.
Svó hef eg ætlað:         sjá mun dagr koma
mier yfir höfuð         minn inn síðasti.

‘Eg mun verða reika til rekkju; verkur tekr að vaxa í síðu mier. Svó hef eg ætlað: sjá dagr, minn inn síðasti, mun koma yfir höfuð mier.

‘I’ll have to stagger to bed; the pain begins to increase in my side. This is what I’ve expected: this day, my last one, will come upon me.

Mss: 603(82), Rask87ˣ(115v)

Readings: [5] hef eg (‘hefc’): hefi eg Rask87ˣ    [6] sjá mun: sá muni Rask87ˣ    [7] mier yfir höfuð: yfir höfuð mier Rask87ˣ    [8] minn: hinn Rask87ˣ

Editions: Kölbing 1876, 245, Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 234, CPB II, 384, Jón Þorkelsson 1922-7, 159, Páll Eggert Ólason 1947, 68.

Notes: [3] verkur ‘the pain’: All earlier eds omit the excrescent [u], which makes the line hypometrical. See Note to st. 13/5. — [5] hef eg ‘I’ve’: Lit. ‘have I’. Rendered in 603 as ‘hefc’. See Note to st. 30/1. — [6] sjá dagr ‘this day’: Sá dagr ‘that day’ (Rask87ˣ) is also possible, but was likely caused by the fact that the scribe failed to understand the form sjá (m. nom. sg.) ‘this’ because that pron. was replaced by þessi ‘this’ after the C14th (see ANG §470 Anm. 2, Björn K. Þórólfsson 1925, 46 and Bandle 1956, 352). — [6] mun (3rd pers. sg. pres. indic.) ‘will’: The subj. form of the verb, muni ‘would’ (Rask87ˣ), is less likely in the present context. — [7]: This line, mier yfir höfuð lit. ‘my over head’ (so 603), is unmetrical unless we assume suspended resolution on the second lift. That is also the case with the Rask87ˣ variant, yfir höfuð mier lit. ‘over head my’, which would require suspended resolution on the first lift. — [8] minn ‘my’: Hinn ‘that’ (Rask87ˣ) is syntactically awkward (hinn inn síðasti ‘that one the last’) and must represent an attempt to achieve h- alliteration with höfuð ‘head’ in the previous line.


  1. Bibliography
  2. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  3. Bandle, Oskar. 1956. Die Sprache der Guðbrandsbiblía. BA 17. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  4. Björn K. Þórólfsson. 1925. Um íslenskar orðmyndir á 14. og 15. öld og breytingar þeirra úr fornmálinu. Reykjavík: Fjelagsprentsmiðjan. Rpt. 1987. Rit um íslenska málfræði 2. Reykjavík: Málvísindastofnun Háskóla Íslands.
  5. 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.
  6. Jón Þorkelsson [J. Thorkelsson]. 1888. Om digtningen på Island i det 15. og 16. århundrede. Copenhagen: Høst & søns forlag.
  7. Kölbing, Eugen. 1876. Beiträge zur vergleichenden Geschichte der romantischen Poesie und Prosa des Mittelalters unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der englishen und nordischen litteratur. Breslau: Koebner.
  8. 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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