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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 97VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 97’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 418.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

text and translation

Algegn maðr        með aurafjölð
        vill sér kjósa konu;
þat þá reynir,        ef hann reyna skal
        mundargjöld til mikin.

Algegn maðr með aurafjölð vill kjósa sér konu; þat reynir þá, ef hann skal reyna til mikin mundargjöld.
‘A very upright man with a lot of money will want to choose a wife for himself; that [his wealth] is then put to the test, if he must test too great a bride-price settlement.

notes and context

Lat. parallel: (Dist. III, 12) Uxorem fuge ne ducas sub nomine dotis, / nec retinere velis, si coeperit esse molesta ‘Flee from taking a wife for the sake of dowry, and do not wish to keep her if she begins to be burdensome’. — [4-6]: The sense seems to be: because it is known that the prospective groom is wealthy, the bride’s family will attempt to ask for an excessive mundr or bride-price. The translation here reflects the difference between the ON system of bride-price and dowry and the dowry (heimanfylgja) system implied in the Lat. distich.


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 97: AII, 187, BII, 202, Skald II, 105, NN FF §60; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 24, Gering 1907, 26, Tuvestrand 1977, 125, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 96.


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