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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Herv Lv 16VIII (Heiðr 40)

Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 40 (Hervǫr, Lausavísur 16)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 400.


text and translation

Ek mun hirða         ok í hendr nema
hvassan mæki,         ef ek hafa mættak.
Uggi ek eigi         eld brennanda;
þegar loga lægir,         er ek lít yfir.

Ek mun hirða hvassan mæki ok nema í hendr, ef ek mættak hafa. Ek uggi eigi brennanda eld; loga lægir þegar, er ek lít yfir.
‘I will guard the sharp sword and take it in my hands, if I might have it. I do not fear the burning fire; the flame will subside as soon as I look upon it.

notes and context

[1]: The stanza is interrupted at the end of this half-line in Hb with the attribution segir hon ‘she says’. This is clearly not part of the verse and is indicated as separate from it in the ms. by the placing of a vertical stroke on either side of the interjection. — [5-8]: In these lines Hervǫr responds to ll. 3-4 of the previous stanza: allr er hann útan | eldi sveipinn ‘on the outside it is all encircled by fire’. — [7-8]: Ms. R715ˣ offers er framliðnum fyrðum | leikr um sjónir ‘which plays around the eyes of the deceased warriors’, which is unmetrical. In the readings in Skj A Finnur Jónsson suggests that the reading may originally have been er framm-liðnum | leikr fyr sjónum ‘which plays around the deceased before [my] sight’, but this lacks alliteration. The variant is clearly secondary.



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. 5. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Hervararsaga III 16: AII, 248, BII, 268, Skald II, 139; Heiðr 1672, 93-4, FSN 1, 440, 521, Heiðr 1873, 220, 320, Heiðr 1924, 29-30, 111, FSGJ 2, 20, Heiðr 1960, 17; Edd. Min. 18-19.


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