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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 76VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 76’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 406-7.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Mál hvert, eigi        er skyldu margir vita,
        ber þú fyrir ómálgan upp;
hygginn maðr,        ef vill heilsu taka,
        lætr eptir góðum læknum gera.

Ber þú upp fyrir ómálgan mál hvert, er eigi margir skyldu vita; hygginn maðr lætr gera eptir góðum læknum, ef vill taka heilsu.
‘Tell to a taciturn person every matter that not many should know; the intelligent man sends for good doctors if he wants to gain health.

notes and context

Lat. parallel: (Dist. II, 22) Consilium arcanum tacito committe sodali / corporis auxilium medico committe fideli ‘Entrust a secret plan to a close-mouthed associate; entrust aid for the body to a trustworthy doctor’. The danger of telling important news in front of too many and too talkative people is also mentioned in Hávm 63.



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 77: AII, 184, BII, 198, Skald II, 103; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 20, Gering 1907, 21, Tuvestrand 1977, 115, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 81.


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