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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 19VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 19’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 372.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Ómálugr skal        ok stilla orðum vel,
        sá er vill guðs ást geta;
æðra krapt        fær maðr aldrigi,
        en hann sé með tungu trúr.

Skal ómálugr ok stilla vel orðum, sá er vill geta ást guðs; maðr fær aldrigi æðra krapt, en hann sé trúr með tungu.
‘He must [be] close-mouthed and control words well, who wants to gain the love of God; a man never obtains more strength than by being true with his tongue.

notes and context

Lat. parallel: (Dist. I, 3) Virtutem primam esse puta conpescere linguam; / proximus ille deo est, qui scit ratione tacere ‘I think the first virtue to be curbing your tongue; he is closest to God who knows how to keep quiet properly’. The advice to listen rather than to speak in a circle of strangers is parallelled in Hsv 16, but this st. concentrates on discretion as a general virtue. A similar idea is expressed in Hávm 103 (cf. NK, 33).



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 19: AII, 172, BII, 188, Skald II, 98; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 10, Konráð Gíslason 1860, 549, Gering 1907, 6, Tuvestrand 1977, 81, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 36.


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