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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Gát 1III

Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Gátur 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 632.

Anonymous PoemsGátur

text and translation

Ek sá fljúga         fugla marga:
aldrtjón Ellu,         eggdauða menn,
ben bíldskorna,         buðlung Dana,
þjónustumey,         þunga báru.

Ek sá marga fugla fljúga: aldrtjón Ellu, eggdauða menn, bíldskorna ben, buðlung Dana, þjónustumey, þunga báru.
‘I saw many birds fly: life-loss of Ælla <Northumbrian king>, men killed by the sword, lancet-scored wound, king of Danes, serving-girl, heavy wave.

notes and context

In all mss used here, the riddles are prefaced with an introductory statement (SnE 1848, 238-9): Bóndi nokkurr sendi húskarl sinn morgun einn at hugleiða um tún. En er hann kom aptr, spurði bóndi, hví hann hefði svo lengi á burtu verit. Húskarl sagði: ek hefir horft á þat, sem ek hefi sèt. Bóndi spyr: hvat sáttu? ‘A certain farmer sent his servant one morning to contemplate [things] around the farmstead. And when he came back, the farmer asked why he had been away so long. The servant said, ‘I have been thinking about that which I have seen’. The farmer asks: ‘what did you see?’.



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. 5. [b]. Andre gåder 1: AII, 228, BII, 247-8, Skald II, 128-9; SnE 1848, 239, LaufE 1979, 406.


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