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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Law 1VII

Jonathan Grove (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lausavísa on Lawgiving 1’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 966.

Anonymous PoemsLausavísa on Lawgiving1

text and translation

Lögmaðr skyldi röskr og riettr,
riettligr er það lögmanns stiettr;
sá mun þykkja lýðnum liettr,
er lögin segir, þá er hann er friettr.
Móyses kunni lögmáls list,
leingi talaði hann við Krist;
trautt fær mannfólk laganna mist;
minn guð fái oss himna vist.

Lögmaðr skyldi röskr og riettr, það er lögmanns riettligr stiettr; sá mun þykkja liettr lýðnum, er segir lögin, þá er hann er friettr. Móyses kunni list lögmáls, hann talaði leingi við Krist; trautt fær mannfólk mist laganna; minn guð fái oss vist himna.
‘The lawman should be brave and true, that is the lawman’s proper way; he will appear gracious to the people, who speaks the law, when he is asked. Moses was skilled in the art of law-giving, he spoke for a long time with Christ; unwillingly does mankind lose the laws; may my God give us an abode in the heavens.

notes and context

The poem is inserted as a coda at the end of the Bæjarlǫg of Bergen.

The st. is composed in the hneptr ‘cropped’ form of hrynhent, in which the conventional octosyllabic l. is shortened by one syllable. The stressed monosyllabic cadences in the four ll. of each helmingr are connected by end-rhyme, in the pattern defined by Snorri Sturluson as minni runhent ‘lesser rhyming metre’ (cf. SnSt Ht 90-1III; SnE 1999, 36). — [4]: The initial rel. particle er ‘who’ is extrametrical.


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 XIV], A. 10. Løse vers 3: AII, 463, BII, 496, Skald II, 271, NN §1632; NGL IV, 400.


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