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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (FoGT) 22III

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Stanzas from the Fourth Grammatical Treatise 22’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 598.

Anonymous LausavísurStanzas from the Fourth Grammatical Treatise

text and translation

Sveit fylla ein alla
alls framm jóa Glamma.

Ein sveit fylla {alla jóa Glamma} alls framm.
‘One detachment fills all the steeds of Glammi <sea-king> [SHIPS] all [the way] forwards.

notes and context

This couplet exemplifies another type of antiptosis, in which there is a difference in number between the noun subject and its verb. After the citation, the prose text explains: her stendr þetta nafn sveít sem margfallt nafn, styrt af margfǫlldv orði fylla ‘here this noun sveit is used as a plural noun, governed by the plural verb fylla’.

This couplet is very likely an invention of whoever composed FoGT (or of someone composing to his order) rather than a fragment of a complete stanza or helmingr. It bears considerable similarities to the figure Évrard of Béthune called exallage, and exemplified by the clause naues armato milite complent ‘the ships fill up with armed soldiery’ (Wrobel 1887, 5 ll. 41-2). In the Graecismus this example follows immediately upon that used as the basis of st. 21. Sveinbjörn Egilsson (SnE 1848-87, II, 221, III, 159) understood the couplet as a dependent clause, whose main clause was missing, and took alls (l. 2) as an adv. to give alls ein sveit … ‘since/when a detachment …’.


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], D. 3. Vers af den 4. grt. afhandling 16: AII, 217, BII, 234, Skald II, 121, NN §1446; SnE 1848-87, II, 220-1, III, 159, FoGT 1884, 135, 271-2, FoGT 2004, 44, 70, 125-6, FoGT 2014, 24-5, 105-6.


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