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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 44VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 44’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 387-8.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Fé þik eigi tæla lát,        þótt þér fagrt sýniz,
        né til síngirnu snúi;
annars eign        girniz illr at hafa;
        sæll er, sá er sínu unir.

Lát eigi fé tæla þik, né snúi til síngirnu, þótt sýniz þér fagrt; illr girniz annars eign at hafa; sæll er, sá er unir sínu.
‘Do not let money entice you nor turn [you] to covetousness, although it may seem attractive to you; a bad person desires to own another’s possession; he is fortunate, who is content with his own.

notes and context

Lat. parallel: (Dist. I, 29) Quod vile est carum, quod carum vile putato: / sic tu nec cupidus nec avarus nosceris ulli ‘Take that which is cheap to be dear, that dear to be cheap; thus you will be known to no-one as greedy nor avaricious’. Although the phrasing in both versions of ll. 1-3 is quite different, they both render the Lat. distich equally correctly. Therefore it remains uncertain which version is closer to the original translation. Avarice is quite a common topic in medieval literature. In Hsv it is also mentioned in sts 22, 73, 96, and 97. There is a parallel in content in Sól 63. — [1-2]: 624 reads quite differently: [þótt] fagrt sé | lát þú þik eigi tæla ‘Do not let money entice you, although it seems attractive’ (AM 148 8° has þó).



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 44: AII, 177-8, BII, 193, Skald II, 100; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 14, Gering 1907, 13, Tuvestrand 1977, 95, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 56.


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