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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 143VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 143’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 445.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Miskunnsamr        skaltu við menn vera,
        ef þú átt þræla þér,
þvít jarðligt eðli        hygg ek jafnt hafa
        þý sem þjóðans mögr.

Skaltu vera miskunnsamr við menn, ef þú átt þér þræla, þvít ek hygg þý hafa jafnt jarðligt eðli sem þjóðans mögr.
‘You must be merciful with men if you own slaves, because I think a bondwoman has the same earthly nature as the kinsman of a prince.

notes and context

Lat. parallel: (Dist. IV, 44) Cum servos fueris proprios mercatus in usus / et famulos dicas, homines tamen esse memento ‘When you have bought your own slaves for your use, and you call them servants, remember they are still men’. — [4-6]: 624 reads quite differently here: jarðligt minztu, | at jafnt hefir | þræll ok þjóðans mögr (minztu, at þræll ok þjóðans mögr hefir jafnt jarðligt [eðli] ‘remember that a slave and a ruler’s kinsman have the same earthly [nature]’).



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 143: AII, 196, BII, 209, Skald II, 110; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 33, Konráð Gíslason 1860, 552, Gering 1907, 39, Tuvestrand 1977, 149, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 127.


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