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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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KrákÁsl Lv 5VIII (Ragn 15)

Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Ragnars saga loðbrókar 15 (Kráka/Áslaug Sigurðardóttir, Lausavísur 5)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 655.

Kráka/Áslaug SigurðardóttirLausavísur


The following eight stanzas, spoken by Kráka-Áslaug (Ragn 15, 17-18), a messenger (Ragn 16), and Áslaug’s sons Sigurðr (Ragn 19), Bjǫrn (Ragn 20), Hvítserkr (Ragn 21) and Ívarr (Ragn 22), are presented in Skj and Skald as forming, together with Ragn 11-14, a twelve-stanza unit, but are treated here as having a unity of their own and forming a sequence which might be entitled ‘Vengeance for Eiríkr and Agnarr’. The sequence begins with Áslaug asking the messenger for news (Ragn 15), which he provides, reporting the deaths of her stepsons (Ragn 16). Then, after receiving the news of Rǫgnvaldr’s death (cf. Ragn 7, above), she recites two stanzas, one praising the heroism of Rǫgnvaldr, her son (Ragn 17), and the other that of Eiríkr and Agnarr, her stepsons (Ragn 18). Her words have the effect of stimulating in her youngest son, Sigurðr, a resolve to take revenge, which he expresses in Ragn 19, thus inspiring his elder brothers to do the same, one after the other, in Ragn 20-22. All eight stanzas are preserved in both 1824b and 147, albeit very fragmentarily in the latter ms., and five of them, Ragn 18-22, are also preserved in Hb.

text and translation

Hvat segið ér ór yðru,
— eru Svíar í landi
eða elligar úti? —
allnýtr konungs spjalli?
Fregit hefi ek hitt, at fóru,
— en fremr vitum eigi —
ok hildingar höfðu
hlunnroð, Danir sunnan.

Hvat segið ér ór yðru, allnýtr spjalli konungs? Eru Svíar í landi eða elligar úti? Ek hefi fregit hitt, at Danir fóru sunnan, ok hildingar höfðu hlunnroð; en fremr vitum eigi.
‘What have you to relate for your part, most worthy friend of the king? Are Swedes in the land, or, on the other hand, abroad? What I have heard is that the Danes travelled from the south and the warriors experienced a roller-reddening; but we know no more.

notes and context

In the absence of her husband and her sons, apart from Sigurðr, Áslaug questions the spokesman of Eiríkr’s messengers, claiming to know no more about her stepsons’ Swedish expedition than that, when they set off (as recorded in the prose), the launching roller of Agnarr’s ship was reddened with blood when the ship slid from it, killing a man standing in front of it.

[1]: The alliteration in this line becomes apparent if the initial þ of þér in the 1824b reading segi þér is apprehended as merging in sound with the terminal ð of segið, and the two words are read as segið ér; cf. ANG §465 Anm. 5.



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. 2. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Ragnarssaga loðbrókar V 5: AII, 235, BII, 255, Skald II, 132, NN §1457; FSN 1, 264 (Ragn ch. 9), Ragn 1891, 197 (ch. 9), Ragn 1906-8, 141, 182, 206 (ch. 10), Ragn 1944, 66-7, 69 (ch. 10), FSGJ 1, 251 (Ragn ch. 10), Ragn 1985, 125 (ch. 10), Ragn 2003, 36-7 (ch. 10), CPB II, 348-9.


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