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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 86VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 86’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 412.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Örr at kenna        skalt þú öðrum gott
        ok svá nýtr at nema;
mörgum dugir,        sá er at mannviti kenniz;
        veitir gott ráð gum*um.

Þú skalt örr at kenna öðrum gott ok svá nýtr at nema; dugir mörgum, sá er kenniz at mannviti; veitir gum*um gott ráð.
‘You must be generous in teaching good to others and also capable in learning; he helps many, who acknowledges reason; he gives people good advice.

notes and context

Hallgrímur Scheving includes ll. 1-3 with the same readings as here, but lacks ll. 4-6, which could be corrupt in 1199ˣ. 624 differs considerably, but is used by most eds (including Skj, Skald and Hermann Pálsson):

Gott skal kenna,    sá er vill grandvarr vera,
    ok kosta nýtt at nema;
mörgum dugir,    sá er af mannviti
    kennir gott gum*um.

Skal kenna gott ok kosta nýtt at nema, sá er vill vera grandvarr; dugir mörgum, sá er af mannviti kennir gum*um gott ‘He who wants to be prudent must teach something good and strive to learn something useful; he helps many, who teaches people something good from understanding’. — Lat. parallel: (Dist. III, 1) Instrue praeceptis animum, ne discere cessa; / nam sine doctrina vita est quasi mortis imago ‘Instruct your mind with precepts, nor cease to learn; for a life without learning is like the image of death’. This st. begins the main text of Book III, but there is no attempt to translate the preface to this book of the Disticha. — [1-3]: For these ll. there is a parallel in content in Sól 32.



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 87: AII, 185-6, BII, 200, Skald II, 104; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 22, Gering 1907, 24, Tuvestrand 1977, 120, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 89.


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