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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 137VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 137’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 441-2.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Hjarðir sæfa        þarf eigi til hylli guðs;
        beit þú yxn fyrir arðr;
reykelsis ilm,        þann er kemr af réttum siðum,
        vill hann fyrir tafn taka.

Þarf eigi sæfa hjarðir til hylli guðs; beit þú yxn fyrir arðr; hann vill taka fyrir tafn reykelsis ilm, þann er kemr af réttum siðum.
‘It is not necessary to kill herds for the honour of God; harness oxen to a plough; He will accept in place of sacrifice the fragrance of incense which comes from correct religious observances.

notes and context

Lat. parallel: (Dist. IV, 38) Ture deum placa, vitulum sine crescrat aratro: / ne credas gaudere deum, cum caede litatur ‘Please God with incense, that the calf may grow without the plough; do not think to please God when sacrifice is made to him by killing’. The same idea is expressed in Hsv 119, possibly deriving from Pss 49 and 50.



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 138: AII, 195, BII, 208-9, Skald II, 109; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 32, Gering 1907, 37, Tuvestrand 1977, 146, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 123.


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