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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 135VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 135’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 440-1.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Um engar sakir        skaltu aldri deila
        við hygginn hal;
gjöld af guði        hygg ek garpa taka
        fyrir reiði rangs hugar.

Skaltu aldri deila við hygginn hal um engar sakir; ek hygg garpa taka gjöld af guði fyrir reiði rangs hugar.
‘You must never argue with an intelligent man for the sake of nothing; I think that bold men get repayment from God for the anger of a wrong mind.

notes and context

Lat. parallel: (Dist. IV, 34) Contra hominem iustum prave contendere noli: / semper enim deus iniustas ulciscitur iras ‘Do not contend wrongly against a just man; for God is always angry at unjust anger’. A similar topic is dealt with in st. 70. — [1-3]: 624’s reading is chosen here, because 1199ˣ seems corrupt: Fyrir unnar sakir | skaltu aldri saka | aldyggvan hal ‘you must never accuse a very trustworthy man on account of committed crimes’; the repetition of sakir/saka is suspect, and l. 3 lacks alliteration. Emendation to hugdyggvan hal would restore the alliteration in l. 3 (Hallgrímur Scheving has hugdyggva hali for l. 3). Skj B takes 624’s reading and emends l. 3 to við hugdyggva hali, based on Hallgrímur Scheving’s text, but in doing so blends two quite separate ms. traditions.



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 135: AII, 195, BII, 208, Skald II, 109; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 31, Gering 1907, 37, Tuvestrand 1977, 145, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 122.


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