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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 12VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 12’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 367-8.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Bækr ok rúnir        kenn þú blíðliga;
        ger þú við góða vel;
illra kvenna        firr þú þik öllu lagi,
        ok ráð hverjum heilt.

Kenn þú blíðliga bækr ok rúnir; ger þú vel við góða; firr þú þik öllu lagi illra kvenna, ok ráð hverjum heilt.
‘Teach with kindness books and runes; treat the good well; keep away from bad women by all means, and give everybody good advice.

notes and context

Lat. parallels: (sent. 26) libros lege ‘read books’; (sent. 38) litteras disce ‘study literature’; (sent. 39) bono benefacito ‘do good to a good man’; (sent. 25) meretricem fuge ‘avoid a prostitute’; (sent 40) tute consule ‘give safe advice’. Two mss have nem ‘learn’ (l. 2) (so Skj B and Skald), and the Lat. parallels have more to do with learning than teaching. The importance of education is also mentioned in Sól 49. Hávm 118/3 parallels the illra kvenna of 1199ˣ (NK, 36).



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 12: AII, 170, BII, 187, Skald II, 97; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 8, Gering 1907, 4, Tuvestrand 1977, 76, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 31.


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