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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hjǫrtr Lv 2II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Hjǫrtr, Lausavísur 2’ 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, p. 346.


text and translation

Hafr es úti        hvítr í túni;
skúmir augum,        hefr skegg mikit,
brestir klaufum,        vill bǫrn taka;
sás geitarson        gerr við erru.

Hafr es úti, hvítr í túni; skúmir augum, hefr skegg mikit, brestir klaufum, vill taka bǫrn; sás geitarson, gerr við erru.
‘A billy-goat is outside, white, in the yard; he grows dark in the eyes, has a huge beard, bangs his hoofs, wants to take children; he is a goat’s son, ready for a quarrel.

notes and context

King Haraldr asks Hjǫrtr how the mission to Russian has gone, and Hjǫrtr replies with this st.

Heusler (1923, 99) identifies this st. as a nursery rhyme, and, indeed, it does resemble Skaufhalabálkur ‘Tassle-tail Bálkur’, a C14th nursery rhyme (barngælur) of forty-two sts by Svartur á Hofstöðum (Svart SkaufVIII). See also Anon (Ldn) 3IV. — [8]: The l. has internal rhyme (-err : -err-) as in tøglag.


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: Hjǫrtr, Lausavísur 2: AI, 403, BI, 372, Skald I, 185; Hb 1892-6, 332, Fellows Jensen 1962, 38 (Hem).


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