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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 63VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 63’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 399.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Ill tíðendi,        þótt þú einn vitir,
        gerz þú þagmælskr af þeim;
allir þann lasta,        ef einn geriz
        flærðar frumkveðill.

Þótt þú einn vitir ill tíðendi, gerz þú þagmælskr af þeim; allir lasta þann, ef einn geriz frumkveðill flærðar.
‘Even if you alone know of some bad news, be discreet about it; everyone blames him, if he alone becomes the originator of falsehood.

notes and context

Lat. parallel: (Dist. II, 7) Quod pudeat, socios prudens celare memento, / ne plures culpent id, quod tibi displicet uni ‘Remember, prudent [as you are], to keep that which makes you ashamed from your associates, so that many will not blame that which displeases you alone’. 1199ˣ is closer to the Lat. text. 624 differs considerably:

Ill tíðindi,    þau er upp koma,
    vættu eigi fyrstr með firum;
vertu þögnmælskr,    ef allir þau lasta,
    er einn geriz frumkveðill at.

Vættu eigi fyrstr með firum ill tíðindi, þau er upp koma; vertu þögnmælskr, ef allir lasta þau, er einn geriz frumkveðill at ‘Do not expect as the first among men bad news which comes up; be discreet, if all blame those [i.e. the news] of which one man is the instigator’. There is an implication of causality between the two helmingar which is lacking in the Lat. distich.



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 64: AII, 181-2, BII, 196, Skald II, 102; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 17, Gering 1907, 18, Tuvestrand 1977, 106, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 72.


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