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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 62VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 62’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 398-9.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

Litlu láni        fagni lýða hverr,
        ok hafi eigi metnað mikinn;
í litlum polli        haldaz lengi skip,
        er síðan brýtr hregg í hafi.

Hverr lýða fagni litlu láni, ok hafi eigi metnað mikinn; skip haldaz lengi í litlum polli, er hregg brýtr í hafi síðan.

Let every man rejoice at small benefits, and let him not have great arrogance; ships stay safe for a long time in a small pool, which a storm at sea later wrecks.

Mss: 1199ˣ(73v), 624(143)

Readings: [1] láni: hann 624    [2] fagni: fagna 624    [3] ok: om. 624;    eigi: eigi maðr 624    [4] í: opt í 624    [6] er síðan: þau er 624;    brýtr hregg: hregg brýtr 624;    í: so 624, ór 1199ˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 181, Skj BII, 196, Skald II, 102; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 17, Konráð Gíslason 1860, 551, Gering 1907, 18, Tuvestrand 1977, 106, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 71.

Notes: [All]: Lat. parallel: (Dist. II, 6) Quod nimium est fugito, parvo gaudere memento: / tuta mage est puppis, modico quae flumine fertur ‘Flee that which is excessive; remember to rejoice in small things; that craft is safer which is borne on a small stream’. Both versions render the Lat. distich equally well, but the text in 624 seems somewhat corrupt.


  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. Hallgrímur Scheving, ed. 1831. Hugsvinnsmál, ásamt þeirra látinska frumriti. Skóla hátið. Viðeyar Klaustri: prentuð af Helga Helgasyni, á kostnað Bessastaða Skóla.

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