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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Án Lv 1VIII (Án 1)

Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2017, ‘Áns saga bogsveigis 1 (Án bogsveigir, Lausavísur 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 4.

Án bogsveigirLausavísur

text and translation

Skeldi mér sem skyldi
skelkinn maðr við belki;
við máttak þá vætki
vinna; svei þeim æ manni.
Varð í fang at fallaz;
feldum eldsmat nökkut
honum synjaðak heiðri;
svei þeim æ manni.

Skelkinn maðr skeldi mér við belki sem skyldi; máttak þá vinna vætki við; svei þeim manni æ. Varð at fallaz í fang; feldum {eldsmat} nökkut; synjaðak honum heiðri; svei þeim manni æ.
‘The man fond of mockery dashed me against the wall as he should; I was able to put up no resistance then; fie upon that man forever. It was necessary to grapple with each other; we [I] felled fire-nourishment [FIRE-WOOD] in some way; I deprived him of honour; fie upon that man forever.

notes and context

Án speaks this stanza after a wrestling match with a man named Bjǫrn inn sterki ‘the Strong’, a retainer of King Ingjaldr who has made fun of Án. In the first round Bjǫrn lifts Án up and casts him to the ground so that his shoulders land in the fire and his feet strike the beam in the wall (bálkr). Since Án is wearing a long loden coat he suffers no burns. In the second round Án swings Bjǫrn to and fro as if Bjǫrn were a small child and then slings him into the fire where he suffers severe burns.

The metre of this stanza is an irregular variant of dróttkvætt. Finnur Jónsson and Kock regard the inf. vinna as the first word of the final half-line in the first helmingr, so that there is a full stop before the sentence svei þeim æ manni (Skj B, Skald; on their alterations of the wording cf. the Note to ll. 4, 8 below). They thus regard the words við máttak þá vætki | vinna; svei þeim æ manni as a long-line with alliteration on <v>; this division of ll. 3-4 has a basis in most of the mss. The sentence svei þeim æ manni occurs again at the end of the second helmingr, where it is preceded by the sentence honum synjaðak heiðri ‘I deprived him of honour’. In that sentence the words honum and heiðri seem to alliterate, with emphatic alliteration on the pers. pron. honum: ‘him I deprived of honour’. In this case the words honum … manni could not be a long-line with alliteration on <s>: honum synjaðak heiðri; | svei þeim æ manni. Previous eds (Finnur Jónsson, Kock) have emended the text by supplying or suggesting various words beginning with <h> at the beginning of the final half-line, so that the final long-line of the stanza would read: honum synjaðak heiðri | heldr; svei þeim æ manni ‘I rather deprived him of honour … ’ (Skj B); honum synjaðak heiðri | hála; svei þeim æ manni ‘I guilefully deprived him of honour … ’ (Skald); honum synjaðak heiðri | harðla; svei þeim æ manni ‘I very much deprived him of honour … ’ (NN §2611). On Kock’s further emendation of the final half-line of the stanza cf. the Note to ll. 4, 8. If the text is not emended in the ways Finnur Jónsson or Kock suggest, one could regard the two sentences við máttak þá vætki vinna; | svei þeim æ manni at the end of the first helmingr and the two sentences honum synjaðak heiðri; | svei þeim æ manni at the end of the second helmingr as two full-lines respectively, albeit the final line of each helmingr (svei þeim æ manni) contains no words which alliterate. Finnur Jónsson and Kock present the stanza as one in fornyrðislag or málaháttr, but the pre-requisite for this is their addition of a word beginning with <h> before the words svei þeim æ manni at the end of the stanza (see above). The present edn follows the ms. tradition in presenting the first helmingr as four half-lines with six metrical positions (l. 4 has seven), with the inf. vinna as the first word of l. 4. Given the probable double alliteration on <h> in l. 7 honum synjaðak heiðri, the refrain in l. 8 has no alliteration and only five metrical positions.



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: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 11. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Áns saga bogsveigis 1: AII, 319, BII, 339, Skald II, 182, NN §§1482-3, 2611; FSN 2, 334, FSGJ 2, 376.


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