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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 54VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 54’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 393-4.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Aura þína        skaltu eigi til ónýtis hafa;
        heldr neyt með hagspeki;
válaðr verðr,        sá er eigi vinna má,
        ef hann hefr aurum amat.

Skaltu eigi hafa aura þína til ónýtis; heldr neyt með hagspeki; verðr válaðr, sá er eigi má vinna, ef hann hefr amat aurum.
‘You must not have your money for no use; rather use it with sense; he who cannot work becomes poor if he has squandered his money.

notes and context

Lat. parallel: (Dist. I, 39) Conserva potius, quae sunt iam parta labore; / cum labor in damno est, crescit mortalis egestas ‘Preserve with greater effort what you have already gained; when labour is set at naught, human poverty grows’. 624 has a very different reading:

Eigur þínar    skaltu eigi til ofneyzlu hafa;
opt verðr sá aumr,    er fyrir aurum ræðr,
    ok hefir öðrum á mót.

Skaltu eigi hafa eigur þínar til ofneyzlu; sá verðr opt aumr, er ræðr fyrir aurum ok hefir öðrum á mót ‘You shall not use your property for intemperance; he often becomes poor who rules over money and uses it against others’. 624 lacks a 3rd l. and there is no alliteration in the last l. The verbal correspondences in the first helmingr, however, suggest that both versions are ultimately derived from the same translation.



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 54: AII, 180, BII, 194, Skald II, 101, NN §2590; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 16, Gering 1907, 15, Tuvestrand 1977, 101, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 64.


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