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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 81VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 81’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 409.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Um lítaz        þarf maðr á alla vegu
        ok við villu varaz;
glöggþekkinn        skyldi gumna hverr
        ok fróðr ok forsjáll vera.

Maðr þarf lítaz um á alla vegu ok varaz við villu; hverr gumna skyldi vera glöggþekkinn ok fróðr ok forsjáll.
‘A man has to look around in all directions and beware of falsehood; every man should be clear-sighted and wise and foresighted.

notes and context

Lat. parallel: (Dist. II, 27) Quod sequitur specta quodque imminet ante, videto: / illum imitare deum, partem qui spectat utramque ‘Look at what has happened, and see that which is coming; imitate that god who looks in both directions [Janus]’. The Icel. text here does not reproduce the classical reference. Cf. also Hsv 98. In ON-Icel. poetry there are many parallels to the admonition in the first two ll. Cf. e.g. Hávm 1 (NK, 17): Gáttir allar, | áðr gangi fram, | um scoðaz scyli, | um scygnaz scyli; | þvíat óvíst er at vita, | hvar óvinir | sitia á fleti fyrir ‘All the entrances, before you walk forward, you should look at, you should spy out; for you can’t know for certain where enemies are sitting ahead in the hall’ (Larrington 1996, 14). There is also a parallel in phrasing in Sól 19. Cf. also the topic of Sól 40.



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 82: AII, 185, BII, 199, Skald II, 104; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 20, Gering 1907, 22, Tuvestrand 1977, 117, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 85.


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