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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (Vǫlsa) 2I

Wilhelm Heizmann (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísur from Vǫlsa þáttr 2’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1093.

Anonymous LausavísurLausavísur from Vǫlsa þáttr

text and translation

Hér megit sjá         heldr rǫskligan
vingul skorinn         af viggs fǫður.
Þér er, ambátt,         þessi vǫlsi
allódaufligr         innan læra.

Hér megit sjá heldr rǫskligan vingul, skorinn af {fǫður viggs}. Þér er, ambátt, þessi vǫlsi allódaufligr innan læra.
‘Here you can see quite a powerful dong, cut off from the stallion’s father [HORSE]. For you, maid, this rod is not at all dull between the thighs.

notes and context

Towards the end of autumn the fat packhorse dies and the carcase is prepared for food. The manservant cuts off the penis, intending to throw it away. However, the farmer’s son takes it in order to make crude jokes in the main room in front of the women, then recites st. 2. The following prose relates how the housewife takes hold of the severed horse penis, dries it carefully, and wraps it in a linen cloth with leeks and other herbs to prevent it from decomposing. Afterwards she puts it in her chest or box. The penis becomes the object of veneration and is even treated as a deity. Through the power of the Devil it grows and becomes so strong that it can stand up in front of her if she wants it to. The phallus is brought forth every evening and passed around among the members of the household in descending social order, from the head of the household down to the maid, during which each of them has to recite a stanza about it.



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. 4. Vers af Vǫlsaþáttr 2: AII, 219, BII, 237, Skald II, 123; Flat 1860-8, II, 332 (Vǫlsa); Guðbrandur Vigfússon 1860, 133-4, CPB II, 381, Edd. Min. 123, Schröder 1933, 78.


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