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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þhorn Lv 1I

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Lausavísa 1’ 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. 117.

Þorbjǫrn hornklofiLausavísa1

text and translation

Hildr of réð, þvís heldu
rngráts fyr mér *látri
(því emk lystr at lasta)
lestundir† (fǫr þessa).
Ok †liðbjúgrar leigrar
lét æva miksævar†;
eigi mun * við ekkju
austmanna fǫr sannask.

{Hildr {Hǫrngráts}} of réð, þvíslestundirheldu *látri fyr mér; því emk lystr at lasta þessa fǫr. Ok †liðbjúgrar leigrar† lét mik ævasævar†; fǫr austmanna við ekkju mun eigi * sannask.
‘The Hildr <valkyrie> of Hǫrn’s <= Freyja’s> weeping [GOLD > WOMAN] arranged it in such a way that … withheld a bed from me; for that reason I am keen to criticize this journey. And … never made me …; the journey of the Easterners to the widow will not come to pass.

notes and context

For the full context, see Introduction to Auðunn Lv 2. Þorbjǫrn and two other poets, Auðunn illskælda and Ǫlvir hnúfa, have been tricked out of a night’s sexual enjoyment with a handsome widow, and have been forced to spend the night outdoors in a yard surrounded by a paling fence, whose gate has been locked. Each man composes a stanza about his plight.

As with the other two stanzas on fol. 102r of Hb, it is very difficult to read much of the text today, although the first helmingr is better preserved than the second. It is clear from their transcriptions that the C19th eds could read somewhat more of the text, and hence their readings are cited above, but some readings were even then very tentative. Fms 3 only gives the first line. Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) did not attempt a close translation but offered the following paraphrase: Kvinden opfordrede til denne færd – derfor vil jeg dadle hende … ‘The woman invited [me] to this journey – therefore I shall blame her …’. — [5-6]: One can only guess at the meaning of these lines. Various emendations have been proposed to make them comprehensible. Sævar ‘of the sea’ (l. 7) has been emended to form an inf. verb, dependent on lét ‘made, caused’. SnE 1848-87, III proposes sævaz ‘to be killed, expire’, while Kock (Skald) has svæfa ‘to lull, calm’. Kock also emended liðbjúgrar leigrar to liðbjúgrar leygi, with the adj. liðbjúgr ‘limb-lithe’ used substantivally of the woman, and leygr ‘fire, flame’, giving the sense in ll. 5-6 ‘and I could never calm the fire [of desire] of the lithe-limbed woman’. — [7]: This line is hypermetrical if the enn ‘still, yet’ of HbFJ (Hb 1892-6) is included.



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: Þórbjǫrn hornklofi, 3. Lausavísa: AI, 29, BI, 26, Skald I, 16, NN §§1025, 2210C, 2985F; Hb 1892-6, 447, Fms 3, n. p., Fms 3, 68 (Skáld); SnE 1848-87, III, 412.


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