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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hergunnr Lv 3VIII (HjǪ 21)

Richard L. Harris (ed.) 2017, ‘Hjálmþés saga ok Ǫlvis 21 (Hergunnr, Lausavísur 3)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 514.


text and translation

Hvar ertu Margerðr,         mær in öflgasta?
Vinnr þú sigr lítinn         á siklings liði.
Hryggr er hálflaminn         en herðar brotnar,
sterkr er stafnbúi;         stökkva mun nú verða.

Hvar ertu Margerðr, in öflgasta mær? Þú vinnr lítinn sigr á liði siklings. Hryggr er hálflaminn en herðar brotnar, stafnbúi er sterkr; nú mun verða stökkva.
‘Where are you Margerðr, most powerful maiden? You are gaining small victory over the prince’s company. [My] back is half crippled, and my shoulders broken, the forecastle-man [Hjálmþér] is strong; now we must take flight.

notes and context

Seriously injured by Hjálmþér, with whom she fights a single combat, Hergunnr calls to her sisters for retreat.

[5-8]: These lines are structurally similar to ll. 5-8 of the previous stanza and emphasise the powerlessness of the ogresses, for all their grotesque bodily strength, in the face of the heroes’ aggression.



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. 16. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Hjálmþérs saga ok Ǫlvis III 11: AII, 337, BII, 358, Skald II, 193; HjǪ 1720, 40, FSN 3, 485, FSGJ 4, 210, HjǪ 1970, 33-4, 90, 149.


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