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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ásm Lv 1VIII (Frið 10)

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Friðþjófs saga ins frœkna 10 (Ásmundr, Lausavísa 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 206.


text and translation

Þá var svarf um siglu,
er sær of mér gnúði;
ek varð einn með átta
innanborðs at vinna.
Dælla er til dyngju
dagverð konum færa
en Elliða ausa
á úrigri báru.

Þá var svarf um siglu, er sær gnúði of mér; ek varð einn at vinna með átta innanborðs. Dælla er færa konum dagverð til dyngju en ausa Elliða á úrigri báru.
‘Then there was tumult around the mast, when the sea roared over me; I had to work alone [as if] with eight on board. It is more pleasant to bring women breakfast in their quarters than to bale out Elliði on a spray-drenched wave.

notes and context

Friðþjófr’s second foster-brother Ásmundr comments on Bjǫrn’s stanza and, having been encouraged to recite a verse himself, speaks this one.

This stanza follows a common skaldic pattern of contrasting the tough life of a man at sea with the soft life indoors spent with women. There is a good deal of variation in the readings of the various mss, but the gist of the stanza is clear in all. The metre is an irregular variant of dróttkvætt with rhymes in ll. 4 and 8. — [3]: The line is reminiscent of Egill Lv 42/1V (Eg 122) and Ásm 8/1, 7. The B recension mss have við átta rather than með átta. Both versions seem to be drawing on an idiom that is also found in Ket 2/5-6, also in the context of baling out a ship on one’s own: ok í allan dag | einn jós ek við þrjá ‘and the whole day long alone I baled [as if] in competition with three’. The sense in each case is that the one man claims to do the work of several others on his own. Larsson (Frið 1901, 22 n.) translates Ich musste für acht an bord arbeiten ‘I had to work for eight on board’. The B reading is adopted by Frið 1901, Skj B and Skald.



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. 7. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Friðþjófssaga ens frækna I 10: AII, 271, BII, 294, Skald II, 155; Falk 1890, 74, Frið 1893, 14, 45, 71, Frið 1901, 21-2, Frið 1914, 13-14.


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