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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (Vǫlsa) 7I

Wilhelm Heizmann (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísur from Vǫlsa þáttr 7’ 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. 1099.

Anonymous LausavísurLausavísur from Vǫlsa þáttr

text and translation

Þess sver ek við Gefjun         ok við guðin ǫnnur,
at ek nauðig tek         við nosa rauðum.
Þiggi Maurnir         þetta blæti!
En, þræll hjóna,         þríf þú við Vǫlsa!

Þess sver ek við Gefjun ok við ǫnnur guðin, at ek tek nauðig við rauðum nosa. Þiggi Maurnir þetta blæti! En, þræll hjóna, þríf þú við Vǫlsa!
‘I swear by Gefjun and by other deities that I am forced to take the red snout. May Maurnir receive this offering! But, servant of the household, you grab Vǫlsi!

notes and context

The daughter of the house, reluctantly following the customs of the household, takes Vǫlsi and speaks a stanza.

[1-2]: The fact that the daughter of the house swears by Gefjun fits with the designation of the goddess as a virgin in Gylf (SnE 2005, 29). According to Steinsland, Gefjun is contrasted here with Vǫlsi and the ritual connected to it (Steinsland and Vogt 1981, 102). On the other hand, the crude comic element that evokes the image of the severed, yet aroused, horse phallus in the hands of a maiden is surely not unintentional. The association of virginity with sexuality recalls the two opposing sides of Gefjun: beside the virgin goddess Gefjun there is also a magical and lascivious Gefjun who is described in the introductory chapter of Gylf (SnE 2005, 7; cf. Heizmann 2002).



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 7: AII, 220, BII, 238, Skald II, 123; Flat 1860-8, II, 334 (Vǫlsa); Guðbrandur Vigfússon 1860, 136, CPB II, 382, Edd. Min. 124, Schröder 1933, 81.


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