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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 87VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 87’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 413.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Manndáð meiri        getr eigi fyrir mold ofan,
        en kenna góð ráð gum*um;
ódyggt líf        mundu ýtar hafa,
        ef bætti engi yfir.

Getr eigi meiri manndáð fyrir mold ofan en kenna gum*um góð ráð; ýtar mundu hafa ódyggt líf, ef engi bætti yfir.
‘There is no greater act of prowess on earth than to teach men good advice; people would have a worthless life if nobody were to improve it.

notes and context

Lat. parallel: (Dist. III, 1a) Fortunae donis semper par esse memento: / non opibus bona fama datur, sed moribus ipsis ‘Always remember to be equal to the gifts of Fortune; a good reputation is given not on account of riches, but because of [one’s] conduct’. The Lat. distich is a variant of III, 1 and the translation here is likewise a variant of st. 86.



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 88: AII, 186, BII, 200, Skald II, 104; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 22, Konráð Gíslason 1860, 551-2, Gering 1907, 24, Tuvestrand 1977, 120, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 89.


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