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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
123

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.

Mss: 152(174vb), 590aˣ(25v), 58ˣ(320r), papp25ˣ(83v) (Mág)

Readings: [1] sitja: so all others, sitja added above the line 152    [3] eru: er 590aˣ;    rógberar: róg bera 590aˣ, 58ˣ, papp25ˣ    [4] á millum: í millum 590aˣ, í milli 58ˣ    [7] eru löskvir tveir: so 590aˣ, papp25ˣ, enn eru lostugir 152, ‘ero lomskuir tueir’ 58ˣ    [8] lymskudrengir: so 590aˣ, 58ˣ, ok lymsku drjúgir 152, lymsku drjúgir papp25ˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 461, Skj BII, 494, Skald II, 269; Mág 1858, 71-2, Mág 1963, 132 (Mág).

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.

Notes: [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’. — [2] Sveinn ok Helgi ‘Sveinn and Helgi’: These two men are described as kertisveinar ‘attendants’, lit. ‘candle-boys’ of the king. Although they are members of his household, they are treacherous, and throughout the saga make common cause with Ubbi jarl, acting as his agents provocateurs (see Mág 3/6 and Note below). — [3] þeir eru rógberar ‘they are slander-bearers’: The reading of 152. Ms. 590aˣ has þeir er rógbera, which Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and Skald adopt and understand as þeir er bera róg ‘they who carry slander [between men]’. The cpd rógberi is attested in Old Norse prose; cf. rógbera Ásanna ‘the slander-carrier of the gods’, of Loki (SnE 2005, 26). — [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’.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  5. Mág 1858 = Gunnlaugur Þórðarson, ed. 1858. Bragða-Mágus saga með tilheyrendi þáttum. Copenhagen: Páll Sveinsson.
  6. Mág 1963 = Dodsworth, John Brian, ed. 1963. ‘Mágus saga jarls, edited with complete variants from the pre-Reformation manuscripts’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Cambridge.
  7. Internal references
  8. 2017, ‘ Unattributed, Máguss saga jarls’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 596. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=15> (accessed 24 September 2021)
  9. 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Hrólfs saga kraka’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 539. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=73> (accessed 24 September 2021)
  10. †Desmond Slay (ed.) 2017, ‘Hrólfs saga kraka 4 (Heiðr vǫlva, Lausavísur 3)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 543.
  11. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Máguss saga jarls 3 (Mágus jarl, verses 3)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 601.
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