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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hregg Lv 1VIII (GHr 1)

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gǫngu-Hrólfs saga 1 (Hreggviðr konungr, Lausavísur 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 299.

Hreggviðr konungrLausavísur

text and translation

Glez Hreggviðr         af góðri för
Hrólfs ins hugdjarfa         hingat til landa.
Mun rekkr sá         ræsis hefna
á Eiríki         ok öllum þeim.

Hreggviðr glez af góðri för Hrólfs ins hugdjarfa hingat til landa. Sá rekkr mun hefna ræsis á Eiríki ok öllum þeim.
‘Hreggviðr rejoices in the good journey of Hrólfr the bold-hearted to these lands. That warrior will take vengeance for the ruler upon Eiríkr and them all.

notes and context

Shortly after a decisive battle with many casualties, and while exhausted warriors are asleep, Hrólfr goes to where King Hreggviðr’s horse, Dúlcifal, is standing, and mounts him, riding until he comes to Hreggviðr’s burial mound. It is bright moonlight. He dismounts and goes up onto the mound, where he sees Hreggviðr sitting outside below the mound, turned towards the moon. The dead king speaks this and the following two stanzas without interruption.

The verse-form of all three of Hreggviðr’s stanzas is fornyrðislag and their theme is vengeance. Each stanza begins with the same line, Glez Hreggviðr ‘Hreggviðr rejoices’. Hreggviðr must be desyllabified as Hreggviður in each instance to achieve metrical regularity (Types D and C). Repetition of lines, whether at the beginning or end of the stanza or from one stanza to another, as here, seems often to characterise the poetry of draugar ‘revenants’ in Old Norse; in the lausavísa GunnHám Lv 14V (Nj 29) spoken by the dead Gunnarr from his mound in Njáls saga (Nj), when urging his kinsmen to vengeance, the last two lines repeat the same words. — [5-6]: This edn follows the text of 589f and 152, while Skj B and Skald prefer a slightly modified version of 567XI α’s mun vegliga | vísir hefna ‘the prince will nobly take vengeance’. Both versions are acceptable if rekkr is desyllabified to rekkur.



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. 15. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gǫngu-Hrólfssaga 1: AII, 332, BII, 353, Skald II, 190; FSN 3, 333-4, FSGJ 3, 253 (GHr).


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