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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

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.

Mss: 1199ˣ(72r-v), 720a IV(1r-v), 723aˣ(77), 624(141)

Readings: [1] skal: skalt þú 720a IV, þú vert 624    [2] stilla orðum: orðum stilla 723aˣ, stilt orðum 624    [3] ást: ástar 720a IV, om. 723aˣ;    geta: so 720a IV, 723aˣ, 624, gefa 1199ˣ    [6] hann með: at vera í 720a IV, vera í 723aˣ, 624

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

Notes: [All]: 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).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. Tuvestrand, Birgitta, ed. 1977. Hugsvinnsmál: Handskrifter och kritisk text. Lundastudier i nordisk språkvetenskap A:29. Lund: Blom.
  4. Hermann Pálsson, ed. 1985a. Áhrif Hugsvinnsmála á aðrar fornbókmenntir. Studia Islandica/Íslensk Fræði 43. Reykjavík: Menningarsjóður.
  5. Gering, Hugo, ed. 1907. Hugsvinnsmál. Eine altisländische Übersetzung der Disticha Catonis. Kiel: Lipsius & Tischer.
  6. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  7. Hallgrímur Scheving, ed. 1831. Hugsvinnsmál, ásamt þeirra látinska frumriti. Skóla hátið. Viðeyar Klaustri: prentuð af Helga Helgasyni, á kostnað Bessastaða Skóla.
  8. Internal references
  9. 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.
  10. Not published: do not cite ()

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