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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 16VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 16’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 370.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Fámálugr þú vert,        er með fyrðum kemr
        ok at sumblum sitr;
annan fýsa        skaltu eigi illra hluta;
        mæl þú gott ok ger.

Vert þú fámálugr, er kemr með fyrðum ok sitr at sumblum; skaltu eigi fýsa annan illra hluta; mæl þú ok ger gott.
‘Be reticent when you come among men and sit at banquets; you must not encourage another [to do] bad things; speak and do good.

notes and context

Lat. parallels: (sent. 51) pauca in convivio loquere ‘say few words at a banquet’; (sent. 55) illud adgredere quod iustum est ‘undertake what is rightful’. A similar topic is dealt with in Hsv 104. In ON-Icel. literature it seems to have been common advice to be cautious among strangers and to listen carefully before speaking oneself. Cf. for instance Hávm 27 and Sól 19.



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 16: AII, 171, BII, 188, Skald II, 98, NN §3266B Anm.; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 9, Gering 1907, 5, Tuvestrand 1977, 79, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 35.


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