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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (FoGT) 10III

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Stanzas from the Fourth Grammatical Treatise 10’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 583.

Anonymous LausavísurStanzas from the Fourth Grammatical Treatise

text and translation

Blies um hváfta hása
höfuðskrípamanns pípa.

Pípa höfuðskrípamanns blies um hása hváfta.
‘The lead minstrel’s flute blew across his hoarse cheeks.

notes and context

Stanza 10 follows immediately upon st. 9, and is introduced with the words ok iǫðrvm stað segiz sva ‘and in another place it is said thus’. After the couplet the prose text reads as follows: her er pipan kǫllvt blaasa, sv sem i var blaasít, ok þikker hon iafnan liót figvra, þo at hon finniz iskꜳ̋lldskap sett fyrer skrvðs ęðr navzynía ‘here the flute, which was blown into, is said to blow, and this always seems an unattractive figure, even though it is found in poetry for the sake of ornament or necessity’.

The vocabulary in this couplet is very similar to that of Máni Lv 2II and 3II, which also describe the musical performances of minstrels. In both cases the performers and their music-making are represented as grotesque. — Like st. 9, st. 10 was probably invented by the author of FoGT, or someone working for him, to provide another case of hypallage similar to what was in his Latin models. In this case the closest similarity is provided by the example perflavit fistula buccas ‘the pipe blew through the cheeks’ in Alexander of Villa Dei’s Doctrinale (Reichling 1893, 174, l. 2581).


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 7: AII, 215, BII, 232, Skald II, 120; SnE 1848-87, II, 198-9, III, 155, FoGT 1884, 124, 252-3, FoGT 2004, 34, 62, 97, FoGT 2014, 8-9, 64.


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