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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (Vǫlsa) 3I

Wilhelm Heizmann (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísur from Vǫlsa þáttr 3’ 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. 1094.

Anonymous LausavísurLausavísur from Vǫlsa þáttr

text and translation

Ek sé gull á gestum         ok guðvefjar skikkjur;
mér fellr hugr til hringa;         heldr vil ek bjúg en ljúga.
Kenni ek þik, konungr minn;         kominn ertu, Óláfr.

Ek sé gull ok skikkjur guðvefjar á gestum; mér fellr hugr til hringa; heldr vil ek bjúg en ljúga. Kenni ek þik, konungr minn; kominn ertu, Óláfr.
‘I see gold and cloaks of precious material on the guests; I am pleased by the rings; I would rather be crippled than tell a lie. I recognize you, my king; you have come, Óláfr.

notes and context

King Óláfr, together with Finnr Árnason and Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld, visits the farm incognito; all three don grey cloaks and say they are called Grímr. They are greeted warmly by the daughter of the house. She recognizes the guests in spite of their disguise, as she reveals in the stanza. Afterwards King Óláfr asks her to keep the secret to herself.

This is the only stanza that deviates from the (irregular) fornyrðislag metre of the others, and it has only six lines rather than the normal (though not invariable) eight. CPB puts it at the end of the poem, while Heusler and Ranisch (Edd. Min.) omit 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 3: AII, 219, BII, 237, Skald II, 123, NN §§2359, 2993D; Flat 1860-8, II, 333 (Vǫlsa); Guðbrandur Vigfússon 1860, 135, CPB II, 382, Edd. Min. 123-4, Schröder 1933, 80.


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