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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 119VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 119’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 431.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Blót né fórnir        þarf eigi til batnaðar at hafa
        fyrir afgerðir ýta;
heimskr er sá,        er ætlar sér til hjálpar,
        þótt hann sæfi smala,
þvít eins guðs elska        ok aldyggvir siðir
        bæta um gervan glæp.

Þarf eigi at hafa blót né fórnir til batnaðar fyrir afgerðir ýta; sá er heimskr, er ætlar sér til hjálpar, þótt hann sæfi smala, þvít eins guðs elska ok aldyggvir siðir bæta um gervan glæp.
‘It is not necessary to have sacrifices nor offerings as atonement for men’s transgressions; he is foolish who thinks it is a help for him when he sacrifices [small] livestock, because the one God’s love and very trustworthy morals compensate for a misdeed performed.

notes and context

Lat. parallel: (Dist. IV, 14) Cum sis ipse nocens, moritur cur victima pro te? / stultitia est morte alterius sperare salutem ‘When you yourself are a killer, why should the victim die for you? It is foolishness to hope for salvation from the death of another’. — [7-9]: The extra 3 ll. have perhaps been added from a lost st. or from a commentary in a schoolbook. It is also possible that the redactor’s intention was to give the st. a more Christian touch, since the first six ll. deal with heathen sacrifices. The reading eins ‘the one’ in l. 7 is added from 720 a IV, 723aˣ to make the l. metrical.



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 118: AII, 191, BII, 205, Skald II, 107; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 28, 34, Gering 1907, 32, Tuvestrand 1977, 137, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 111.


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