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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Mágj Lv 2VIII (Mág 2)

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Máguss saga jarls 2 (Mágus jarl, verses 2)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 600.

Mágus jarlverses

text and translation

Sé ek, hvar sitja         Sveinn ok Helgi;
þeir eru rógberar         rekka á millum.
Þikjaz garpar         í gamanmálum;
eru löskvir tveir         lymskudrengir.

Ek sé, hvar Sveinn ok Helgi sitja; þeir eru rógberar á millum rekka. Þikjaz garpar í gamanmálum; eru tveir löskvir lymskudrengir.
‘I see where Sveinn and Helgi are sitting; they are slander-bearers among men. They appear brave fellows in their joking speech; they are two good-for-nothing men of cunning.

notes and context

The court laughs after the old man’s recital of his first stanza. He repeats his previous behaviour in the hall and then recites a second stanza, again in a low voice.

[1-2]: These lines are similar in wording to part of the sibyl’s prophecy in Hrólf (Hrólf 4/1-2), Sé ek hvar sitja | synir Hálfdanar ‘I see where the sons of Hálfdan sit’. — [7-8]: Ms. 590aˣ’s readings have been preferred here over those of 152, as they provide slightly better sense. In l. 7 ms. 152’s adj. lostugir ‘willing, ready’ (m. nom. pl.) is plausible but perhaps too positive, combining in l. 8 with the variant lymskudrjúgir to give the sense ‘but they are willing and ample in cunning’.



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 XIV], A. 8. Vers af sagaer: Af isl. slægtsagaer: Af Mágus saga 2: AII, 461, BII, 494, Skald II, 269; Mág 1858, 71-2, Mág 1963, 132 (Mág).


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