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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 109VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 109’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 425.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

Á engum hlut        láttu þér elsku vera,
        þeim er aðrir eiga;
sínu láni        skal seggja hverr
        una, því er eignaz hefir.

Láttu vera þér elsku á engum hlut, þeim er aðrir eiga; hverr seggja skal una láni sínu, því er hefir eignaz.

Do not let there be love for you in anything which others own; every man must be content with his property, which he has acquired.

Mss: 1199ˣ(74v), 723aˣ(81), 624(146)

Readings: [2] láttu: skal 624;    elsku: elska 624;    vera: om. 723aˣ    [3] aðrir eiga: hugdyggvir hata 624    [5] skal: skyldi 624    [6] una: so 723aˣ, 624, laun með launum taka unna 1199ˣ;    eignaz: so 723aˣ, 624, elskat 1199ˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 189, Skj BII, 203-4, Skald II, 106; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 31, Gering 1907, 36, Tuvestrand 1977, 132, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 104.

Notes: [All]: Possible Lat. parallels: (Dist. IV, 1) Despice divitias si vis animo esse beatus, / quas qui suspiciunt, mendicant semper avari ‘Spurn riches, if you wish to be happy in mind, for those who admire them always beg as misers’; (Dist. IV, 2) Commoda naturae nullo tibi tempore deerunt, / si contentus eo fueris, quod postulat usus ‘Necessities from nature will never be lacking to you, if you are content with what need demands’. The topic of this st. recurs throughout the poem (cf., e.g. sts 22, 44, 96); it is therefore difficult to determine the exact equivalent among the Lat. disticha. Tuvestrand has suggested that in this and the next st. the translation of several distichs has been mingled. However, in all mss this st. and the next occur consistently in order between the translation of the end of the third book of the Disticha and distich 3 of the fourth book, which suggests Dist. IV, 1-2 are translated here, thus beginning the translation of Book IV. — [3] þeim er aðrir eiga: This l. is unmetrical in 1199ˣ and 723aˣ. 624’s reading is metrically correct: þeim er hugdyggvir hata ‘which steadfast people hate’. — [6]: 1199ˣ adds a further full l. here: sínu láni | skal seggja hverr | laun með leigum taka | unna, því er elskat hefr ‘every man must take rewards with wages for his estate [and] love that which he has loved’. This neither corresponds to the Lat. nor makes much sense in itself.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. Tuvestrand, Birgitta, ed. 1977. Hugsvinnsmál: Handskrifter och kritisk text. Lundastudier i nordisk språkvetenskap A:29. Lund: Blom.
  4. Hermann Pálsson, ed. 1985a. Áhrif Hugsvinnsmála á aðrar fornbókmenntir. Studia Islandica/Íslensk Fræði 43. Reykjavík: Menningarsjóður.
  5. Gering, Hugo, ed. 1907. Hugsvinnsmál. Eine altisländische Übersetzung der Disticha Catonis. Kiel: Lipsius & Tischer.
  6. Hallgrímur Scheving, ed. 1831. Hugsvinnsmál, ásamt þeirra látinska frumriti. Skóla hátið. Viðeyar Klaustri: prentuð af Helga Helgasyni, á kostnað Bessastaða Skóla.

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