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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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SnSt Lv 7III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Lausavísur 7’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 374.

Snorri SturlusonLausavísur


The helmingr (SnSt Lv 7), edited by Kari Ellen Gade, is transmitted only in ms. W towards the end of Orms-Eddu-brot (Skm, SnE) in a section that illustrates kennings for women’s hair. It is not recorded in the corresponding sections that were copied from W in the X and Y versions of LaufE (LaufE 1979, 277-8, 355-6) and in RE 1665(Ff3). The half-stanza is attributed to Snorri Sturluson, but nothing is known about the circumstances surrounding its composition, nor can any certain date be assigned to it.

text and translation

Komk inn, þars sat svanni
svanna vænstr í ranni;
Gerðr leysti sú svarðar
svarðakr raðar garða.

Komk inn, þars sat svanni, vænstr svanna, í ranni; {sú Gerðr {garða {raðar svarðar}}} leysti {svarðakr}.
‘I came in where a woman, the most beautiful of women, sat inside the hall; that Gerðr <goddess> of the fences of the ridge of the scalp [HEAD > HEADBANDS > WOMAN] was loosening her scalp-field [HAIR].

notes and context

The helmingr illustrates kennings for women’s hair in which the base-words are words for ‘head’, ‘parting of the hair’, ‘cheek’, ‘neck’, ‘scalp’ or ‘forehead’ and the determinants are words for ‘forest’, ‘field’, ‘grass’ or ‘trees’.

The metre is dunhent ‘echoing-rhymed’, which is also attested in RvHbreiðm Hl 65-6 and in SnSt Ht 24 (see Notes there).



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: Snorri Sturluson, 4. Lausavísur 7: AII, 79, BII, 90, Skald II, 49, NN §2193; SnE 1848-87, II, 500, III, 182.


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