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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjJ Lv 1VIII (ÞJ 1)

Philip Lavender (ed.) 2017, ‘Þjalar-Jóns saga 1 (Þjalar-Jón Svipdagsson, Lausavísur 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 801.

Þjalar-Jón SvipdagssonLausavísur

text and translation

Halda hlífðar aldri
hljótendr á hlyn spjóta;
verðk af veigarskorðum
vaka ár af því fári.
Enn munu örva sennu
ýtendr of mik flýta
orð, at eigi verðak
altryggr, ef nú gyggvir.

{Hljótendr hlífðar} halda aldri á {hlyn spjóta}; verðk vaka ár af því fári af {veigarskorðum}. {Ýtendr {sennu örva}} munu enn flýta orð of mik, at verðak eigi altryggr, ef nú gyggvir.
‘The possessors of the shield [WARRIORS] will never hinder the maple of spears [WARRIOR]; I have to lie awake early on account of that pain caused by the props of drink [WOMEN]. The launchers of the quarrel of arrows [BATTLE > WARRIORS] will nonetheless be quick with words about me, such that I should not be completely safe, if I now quail.

notes and context

Prince Eiríkr Vilhjálmsson has followed the mysterious stranger named Gestr Gunnólfsson (later revealed to be Þjalar-Jón Svipdagsson) into the lodgings that his father has provided for him. Gestr has three sealed chests, but, after opening two, refuses to unlock the third. Gestr says that he must put Eiríkr to the test first and recites this stanza.

The situation envisaged by the speaker in these lines is not entirely clear. Having asserted his preoccupation with women in the first helmingr in defiance of certain unspecified men, possibly courtiers attempting to hinder his involvement with these females, he acknowledges in ll. 5-8 that these same men (presumably) could damage his reputation by slander if he does not stand up to them. On the question of whether this preoccupation could amount to a romantic interest and the problems that such an (otherwise natural) interpretation would pose considering the prose context, see the Introduction.



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

ÞJ 1857, 12, 62, ÞJ 1939, 6 (ch. 3).


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