Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.



Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Gísl Lv 1II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Gísl Illugason, Lausavísa 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 430-1.

Gísl IllugasonLausavísa1

text and translation

Kátr skalk enn, þótt ætli
aldrán viðir skaldi
(jǫrn taka oss at orna)
unda teins (at beinum).
Hverr deyr seggr, en, svarri,
snarts dreng skapat hjarta,
(prúðr skalk enn í óði)
eitt sinn (á þrek minnask).

Kátr skalk enn, þótt {viðir {teins unda}} ætli skaldi aldrán; jǫrn taka at orna oss at beinum. Hverr seggr deyr eitt sinn, en, svarri, snart hjarta [e]s skapat dreng; prúðr skalk enn minnask á þrek í óði.
‘I’ll still be cheerful, although the trees of the wounds’ rod [SWORD > WARRIORS] intend to rob the poet of his life; the irons begin to warm us [me] to the bones. Every man dies some time, but, lady, a valiant heart has been given to the young warrior; brave, I shall yet again commemorate deeds of courage in poetry.

notes and context

Gísl has been imprisoned by King Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson for the slaying of Magnús’s retainer, Gjafvaldr. He is awaiting execution and recites this st. to his Icel. compatriots (c. 1096).

Gísl is able to escape from the execution through the intervention of Jón Ǫgmundarson, later bishop of Hólar. — [2] viðir ‘the trees’: Gera ‘do, inflict’ (so 219, papp4ˣ, 392ˣ) is a lectio facilior which leaves the kenning viðir teins unda ‘the trees of the wounds’ rod’ (ll. 2, 4) without a base-word. — [7] prúðr ‘brave’: Fróðr ‘wise’ (so papp4ˣ, 392ˣ) is metrically possible, but secondary and makes little sense in the context.



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: Gísl Illugason, 2. Lausavísa: AI, 444, BI, 413, Skald I, 204, NN §§2270, 2990 Anm.; ÍF 3, 336-7 (GíslIll ch. 4), Fms 7, 35 (Mberf ch. 18); Biskupa sögur 1858-78, I, 222, JBp 2003, 64, ÍF 15, 320-1.


Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.


Stanza/chapter/text segment

Use the buttons at the top of the page to navigate between stanzas in a poem.

Information tab

Interactive tab

The text and translation are given here, with buttons to toggle whether the text is shown in the verse order or prose word order. Clicking on indiviudal words gives dictionary links, variant readings, kennings and notes, where relevant.

Full text tab

This is the text of the edition in a similar format to how the edition appears in the printed volumes.

Chapter/text segment

This view is also used for chapters and other text segments. Not all the headings shown are relevant to such sections.