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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 118VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 118’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 430-1.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Upptekna sýslu        ef þú eigi
        orka mátt einsamall,
tryggvan vin        bið þú ténaðar;
        vel kveða dyggva duga.

Ef þú eigi mátt orka einsamall upptekna sýslu, bið þú tryggvan vin ténaðar; kveða dyggva duga vel.
‘If you cannot manage alone a job [you have] started, ask a loyal friend for help; they say that reliable people help well.

notes and context

Lat. parallel: (Dist. IV, 13) Auxilium a notis petito si forte labores; / nec quisquam melior medicus quam fidus amicus ‘Ask for aid from your associates when you are having difficulties; no one is a better doctor than a faithful friend’. — [1-3]: Line 2 is too short. Skj B and Skald have an alternative, metrically sound w.o. deriving from Hallgrímur Scheving’s text: Upp tekna sýslu | ef þú eigi mátt | orka einn saman.



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 117: AII, 191, BII, 205, Skald II, 107; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 28, Gering 1907, 32, Tuvestrand 1977, 136, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 111.


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