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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 116VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 116’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 429-30.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Ofdrykkju forðaz;        * hon drýgir erfiði;
        svá skal við vífin varaz;
líkams lestir        tæla lýða hvern,
        er í sællífi sitr.

Forðaz ofdrykkju; * hon drýgir erfiði; svá skal varaz við vífin; líkams lestir tæla hvern lýða, er sitr í sællífi.
‘Avoid too much drinking; * it causes hardship; thus one must guard against women; vices of the body entrap every man who keeps to a wealthy way of life.

notes and context

Lat. parallels: (Dist. IV, 10) Cum te detineat Veneris damnosa voluptas, / indulgere gulae noli, quae ventris amica est ‘When the cursed pleasure of Venus holds you in its grasp, do not indulge in gluttony, which is a friend of the stomach’. (Dist. IV, 24) Hoc bibe, quo possis, si vis tu, vivere sanus: / morbi causa mali est homini quaecumque voluptas ‘Drink what you are able, if you wish to live healthy; the cause of bad disease to a man is most frequently some kind of pleasure’. Cf. also Hsv 133. The advice not to drink too much is also expressed in several sts of Hávm (e.g. 11, 12, 19). The advice to beware of physical desire is also mentioned in Sól 71.



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 115: AII, 191, BII, 205, Skald II, 107, NN §2593; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 28, Gering 1907, 31, Tuvestrand 1977, 135, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 109.


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