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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Svart Skauf 42VIII

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Svartr á Hofstöðum, Skaufhala bálkr 42’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 984.

Svartr á HofstöðumSkaufhala bálkr

Hefir bálk þennan         og barngælur
sett og samið         Svartr á Hofstöðum
mier til gamans         en meinþurðar
meingi ófróðu;         mun eg nú þagna.

Svartr á Hofstöðum hefir sett og samið þennan bálk og barngælur til gamans mier en meinþurðar ófróðu meingi; nú mun eg þagna.

Svartr from Hofstaðir has composed and put together this poem and nursery rhymes for the pleasure of myself and [for] the entertainment of an uneducated multitude; now I shall be silent.

Mss: Rask87ˣ(116r)

Readings: [6] meinþurðar: mannþurðar Rask87ˣ

Editions: Kölbing 1876, 246, Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 235, CPB II, 384, Jón Þorkelsson 1922-7, 159-60, Páll Eggert Ólason 1947, 70.

Notes: [All]: The stanza is transmitted in Rask87ˣ only. — [2] barngælur ‘nursery rhymes’: This word is in the pl. (sg. barngæla), and it is not clear whether it is used with a sg. meaning here, referring to Skauf, or to other and different compositions by Svartr. — [3-4]: Rendered by Kölbing (1876) and in CPB as ort ófimliga | Einarr fóstri lit. ‘composed unskilfully Einarr fóstri (‘Fosterer’)’ in accordance with the helmingr as cited in Björn á Skarðsá’s Grænlandsannáll (Finnur Magnússon, Rafn et al., 1838-45, I, 112; see Biography and Introduction above). — [6] en ‘and’: Corrected to og ‘and’ in the right margin in another hand. — [6] meinþurðar ‘[for] the entertainment’: Lit. ‘[for] harm-decrease’. The ms. reading, mannþurðar ‘man-decrease’, makes no sense in the context. The emendation was first suggested by Jón Þorkelsson (1888, 219 n. 3) and adopted by Jón Þorkelsson (1922-7) and Páll Eggert Ólason (1947). — [7] ófróðu meingi ‘of an uneducated multitude’: I.e. the children who will be entertained by the poem and educated by the moral value of animal fables.


  1. Bibliography
  2. 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.
  3. Jón Þorkelsson [J. Thorkelsson]. 1888. Om digtningen på Island i det 15. og 16. århundrede. Copenhagen: Høst & søns forlag.
  4. Kölbing, Eugen. 1876. Beiträge zur vergleichenden Geschichte der romantischen Poesie und Prosa des Mittelalters unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der englishen und nordischen litteratur. Breslau: Koebner.
  5. Páll Eggert Ólason, ed. 1947. Kvæðasafn 1300-1600. Vol. 2 of Einar Ólafur Sveinsson et al., eds. Íslands þúsund ár. 4 vols. Reykjavík: Helgafell.
  6. Internal references
  7. Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘ Svartr á Hofstöðum, Skaufhala bálkr’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 948. <> (accessed 23 September 2021)
  8. Not published: do not cite ()

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