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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Liðs 3I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Liðsmannaflokkr 3’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1019.

Anonymous PoemsLiðsmannaflokkr

text and translation

Þollr mun glaums of grímu
gjarn síðarla arna
randar skóð at rjóða
rœðinn, sás mey fœðir.
Berr eigi sá sveigir
sára lauks í ári
reiðr til Rínar glóða
rǫnd upp á Englandi.

{Rœðinn þollr glaums}, sás fœðir mey, mun gjarn síðarla arna at rjóða {skóð randar} of grímu. {Sá sveigir {lauks sára}} berr eigi rǫnd, reiðr, upp á Englandi í ári til {glóða Rínar}.
‘The talkative pine-tree of revelry [MAN] who brings up the maiden will gladly [lit. glad] rush tardily to redden the harm of the shield [SWORD] in darkness. That brandisher of the leek of wounds [SWORD > WARRIOR] does not carry the shield, enraged, up into England in a hurry, for the embers of the Rhine [GOLD].

notes and context

As for st. 1.

The stanza appears to express contempt for the guardian of Steinvǫr (on whom, see Note to st. 9/7) as a heimdragi ‘stay-at-home’. It does so by ironic litotes: he is not only slow into battle, but is not present at all.  — [5-8]: The gallantry of the speaker and his comrades is contrasted with the inaction of the guardian. Such contrasts are characteristic of skaldic poetry (Perkins 1969, 96 n. 7). This helmingr is repeated in part in st. 9/5-8: rýðr eigi sá sveigir | sára lauk i ári ... gunnborðs ‘that brandisher of the battle-plank [SHIELD > WARRIOR] does not redden the leek of wounds [SWORD] in a hurry’. Finnur Jónsson in Skj regarded sts 3/5-8 and 9/5-8 as textual variants and considered st. 9/7-8 the more original version of the second couplet. But the partial repetition can better be explained as representing an informal refrain. The first occurrence stands near the opening of the flokkr and the other near its close, loosely corresponding to the placement of the first and last enunciations of the stef ‘refrain’ in the formal drápa.



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: Óláfr Haraldsson enn helgi, Lausavísur 5: AI, 221, BI, 211, Skald I, 110, NN §596; Flat 1860-8, III, 238, ÓH 1941, II, 684; ÓHLeg 1922, 11, ÓHLeg 1982, 48-9.


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