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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (Sv) 6II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísur from Sverris saga 6’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 847.

Anonymous LausavísurLausavísur from Sverris saga


Anon (Sv) 6 is found in Sv in mss Flat, 8, E, 81a and 325VIII 4 a. Ms. 327 has a lacuna here, and in ÍF 30 and Sv 1920 the missing text has been supplied from Flat. Flat is also the main ms. in the present edn. The metre is fornyrðislag.

text and translation

Ólíkr est þú        yðrum niðjum,
þeims framráðir        fyrri vôru.

Þú est ólíkr niðjum yðrum, þeims vôru framráðir fyrri.
‘You are unlike your kinsmen, who were ambitious in olden days.

notes and context

Sverrir cites this half-st. in a speech during the battle of Oslo in March 1200. He berates his son, Sigurðr lávarðr (d. 1200), for his cowardly behaviour (he and his men had taken refuge with their horses in Hallvardskirken (the Church of S. Hallvarðr).

As was the case with Lv 2-3 above, this st. is also anonymous, but it is spoken by Sverrir (ÍF 30, 257): Litla ván eiga Birkibeinar þar góðs hǫfðingja er þú ert, ok er svá sem kveðit er ‘The Birkibeinar have scant hope of a good chieftain there where you are concerned, and it is just as it is said’. A little later in the same speech, Sverrir recites another snatch of poetry, this time Fáfn 6/4-6 (NK 181). It could well be that the present st., too, originally belonged to an eddic poem (no longer extant). — Sverrir continues as follows (ÍF 30, 257): Ólíkir eru þér inum fyrrum Birkibeinum, þeir er gengu til lands með mér móti Magnúsi konungi ‘You are unlike the Birkibeinar of old who conquered the country with me against King Magnús’. Sverrir was fond of referring to the prowess of ‘the Birkibeinar of old’ in his speeches. During the siege of Slottsfjellet in Tønsberg, for example, he incites his troops with the following taunt, echoing the present st. (ÍF 30, 273): ok ólíkir eru þér þeim er í forneskju eru sǫgur af gǫrvar ‘and you are unlike those about whom sagas were made in olden days’.



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], D. Vers, hentydende til sagn og lign. 3: AI, 602, BI, 602, Skald I, 293; ÍF 30, 257 (ch. 164), Sv 1920, 178, Flat 1860-8, II, 686, E 1916, 421, Sv 1910-86, 230.


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