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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

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!

Mss: Flat(122ra) (Flat); 292ˣ(55r) (Vǫlsa)

Readings: [1] sver ek við: eg sver 292ˣ    [4] nosa: ‘Volsa’ 292ˣ    [5, 6] Þiggi Maurnir þetta: abbrev. as ‘.þ. m. þ.’ Flat    [7] En: enn þú 292ˣ

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

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

Notes: [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). — [1] þess: Untranslated here, since the construction is sverja þess at ‘to swear that’.  — [2] guðin (n. acc. pl.) ‘deities’: Heusler and Ranisch (Edd. Min.) prefer the form without the article -in for metrical reasons, but l. 2 as it stands is a satisfactory Type C2-line. — [4] nosa ‘snout’: A hap. leg. (with presumed nom. sg. nosi) of uncertain etymology, perhaps related to nes ‘headland’ and nǫs ‘nose’ in the sense of ‘something protruding’ (AEW: nosi). — [5-6] þiggi Maurnir þetta ‘may Maurnir receive this’: From st. 7 onwards abbreviated as ‘.þ. m. þ.’ in Flat: see Readings. — [7] en ‘but’: En(n) þú ‘but you’ in ms. 292ˣ brings this stanza into line with the adjacent ones, which have þú at the corresponding point.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  4. 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.
  5. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  6. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  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. Heizmann, Wilhelm. 2002. ‘Gefjon: Metamorphosen einer Göttin’. In Simek et al. 2002, 197-255.
  9. Schröder, Franz Rolf. 1933. Quellenbuch zur germanischen Religionsgeschichte. Trübners philologische Bibliothek 14. Berlin and Leipzig: Walter de Gruyter.
  10. Steinsland, Gro and Kari Vogt. 1981. ‘“Aukinn ertu Uolse ok vpp vm tekinn”. En religionshistorisk analyse av Vǫlsa þáttr i Flateyjarbók’. ANF 96, 87-106.
  11. Internal references
  12. Not published: do not cite (VǫlsaI)
  13. Not published: do not cite (GylfIII)

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