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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 104VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 104’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 422.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Fámálugr vera        skyldi fyrða hverr,
        er at samkundum sitr;
manvits vant        verðr þeim, er mart talar;
        hljóðr er hygginn maðr.

Hverr fyrða, er sitr at samkundum, skyldi vera fámálugr; manvits vant verðr þeim, er mart talar; hygginn maðr er hljóðr.
‘Every man who is attending a feast should be taciturn; good sense is lacking in the one who speaks a lot; a wise man is silent.

notes and context

Lat. parallel: (Dist. III, 19) Inter convivas fac sis sermone modestus, / ne dicare loquax, cum vis urbanus haberi ‘At feasts make sure that you are moderate in speech, so that you will not be called loud-mouth when you want to be considered urbane’. A similar topic is dealt with in Hsv 16. The topic of taciturn guests also occurs in Hávm. Cf. Hávm 7/1-3 (NK, 18): Inn vari gestr, | er til verðar kømr, | þunno hljóði þegir ‘The careful guest, who comes to a meal, keeps silent with hearing finely attuned’ (Larrington 1996, 15).


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 [XIII], [C. E/5]. Hugsvinnsmál 103: AII, 188, BII, 203, Skald II, 106; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 25, Konráð Gíslason 1860, 552, Gering 1907, 28, Tuvestrand 1977, 129, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 100.


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