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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (Ragn) 10VIII (Ragn 40)

Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Ragnars saga loðbrókar 40 (Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísur from Ragnars saga loðbrókar 10)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 705.

Anonymous LausavísurLausavísur from Ragnars saga loðbrókar

Þar báðu standa,         meðan strönd þolir,
mann hjá þyrni         ok mosa vaxinn.
Nú skýtr á mik         ský*ja gráti;
hlýr hvárki mér         hold né klæði.

Þar báðu mann standa, meðan strönd þolir, hjá þyrni ok vaxinn mosa. Nú skýtr {gráti ský*ja} á mik; hvárki hold né klæði hlýr mér.

There they bade the man [me] stand for as long as the coast endures, by a thorn-bush and overgrown with moss. Now {the weeping of the clouds} [RAIN] pours down upon me; neither flesh nor cloth protects me.

Mss: 1824b(76v) (ll. 1-4), 1824b(79r) (ll. 4-8) (Ragn)

Readings: [6] ský*ja: ‘skygia’ 1824b

Editions: Skj AII, 241-2, Skj BII, 261, Skald II, 136; FSN 1, 299 (Ragn ch. 21), Ragn 1891, 223-4 (ch. 21), Ragn 1906-8, 175, 222 (ch. 20), Ragn 1944, 132-3 (ch. 22), FSGJ 1, 285 (Ragn ch. 20), Ragn 1985, 153 (ch. 20), Ragn 2003, 69 (ch. 20), CPB II, 359; Edd. Min., lxxxii-iii, 94.

Context: The trémaðr speaks his third and final stanza. A brief sentence in prose follows it, concluding the saga and stating that Ǫgmundr’s followers marvel at what they have witnessed, and later tell others of it.

Notes: [All]: As the result of an error in the binding of 1824b, the fols numbered 73-6 have become displaced, in such a way that narrative logic requires fols 73-9 to be read in the following order: 77, 78, 73-6, 79. While this naturally disrupts the continuity of the prose text, it does not affect the order in which the Ragn stanzas occur in the text, since there are no stanzas on fols 77-8. It does, however, mean that the present stanza is interrupted halfway through the word mosa, dat. sg. ‘with moss’ in l. 4: its first two letters complete the final line (21) on 76v, and its third and fourth letters begin l.1 on 79r. — [All]: The implication of the present stanza, when seen in relation to the previous one, seems to be that the trémaðr is no longer in active use as a cult-object. — [5-8]: In the second half-stanza, the trémaðr seems to be lamenting the fact that he is no longer decked with clothes, possibly as part of a ritual, nor treated any longer – as the mention of hold ‘flesh’ in this context suggests – as an animate being. — [5-6] skýtr gráti ský*ja ‘the weeping of the clouds [RAIN] pours down’: Skýtr ‘pours’, 3rd pers. sg. pres. of skjóta ‘shoot, propel’ (here ‘splash’ or ‘pour’), is here impersonal, see LP: skjóta 6, the literal meaning of skýtr gráti skýja being ‘it pours with weeping of the clouds’.


  1. Bibliography
  2. FSN = Rafn, Carl Christian, ed. 1829-30. Fornaldar sögur nordrlanda. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. CPB = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and F. York Powell, eds. 1883. Corpus poeticum boreale: The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1965, New York: Russell & Russell.
  6. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  7. Edd. Min. = Heusler, Andreas and Wilhelm Ranisch, eds. 1903. Eddica Minora: Dichtungen eddischer Art aus den Fornaldarsögur und anderen Prosawerken. Dortmund: Ruhfus. Rpt. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
  8. Ragn 1906-8 = Olsen 1906-8, 111-222.
  9. Ragn 1944 = Eskeland, Severin, ed. and trans. 1944. Soga om Ragnar Lodbrok med Kråka-kvædet. Norrøne bokverk 16. 2nd ed. Oslo: Det Norske Samlaget. [1st ed. 1914].
  10. Ragn 1985 = Örnólfur Thorsson 1985, 101-53.
  11. Ragn 1891 = 2nd edn (pp. 175-224) of Ragn as ed. in Valdimar Ásmundarson 1885-9, I.
  12. Ragn 2003 = Ebel, Uwe, ed. 2003. Ragnars saga loðbrókar. Texte des skandinavischen Mittelalters 4. Vol. II of Ebel 1997-2003.
  13. Internal references
  14. 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Ragnars saga loðbrókar’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 616. <> (accessed 26 September 2021)

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