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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mhkv 20III

Roberta Frank (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Málsháttakvæði 20’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1234.

Anonymous PoemsMálsháttakvæði

text and translation

Ástblindir ’ró seggir svá
sumir, at þykkja mjǫk fás gá;
þannig verðr of mansǫng mælt;
marga hefr þat hyggna tælt.
Ekki var þat forðum farald;
Finnan gat þó œrðan Harald;
hánum þótti sólbjǫrt sú;
slíks dœmi verðr mǫrgum nú.

Sumir seggir ’ró svá ástblindir, at þykkja gá mjǫk fás; þannig verðr mælt of mansǫng; þat hefr tælt marga hyggna. Ekki var þat farald forðum; Finnan gat þó Harald œrðan; hánum þótti sú sólbjǫrt; mǫrgum verðr nú dœmi slíks.
‘Some men are so blinded by love that they seem to heed very little; so it is said about a love-song; it has entrapped many wise men. It wasn’t a malady in the old days; still, the Saami girl drove Haraldr out of his mind; to him she seemed bright as the sun; instances of such happen to many now.

notes and context

[1-4]: The opening couplet employs a rare enjambement (one of two in the poem), as if imitative of the speaker’s ‘heedlessness’ and distraction. On such lovesickness, see Anon Sól 10-14VII, especially st. 12/1VII hvárskis þeir gáðu ‘they paid no heed to anything’; the mental confusion of men in love is also described in Hávm 93-7, 114. See also Note to st. 11/5 above. — [5-8]: The words of the refrain are abbreviated in the ms. and the full text is here supplied from st. 11/5-8.



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], A. [1]. Málsháttakvæði 20: AII, 134, BII, 143, Skald II, 76; Möbius 1874, 9, Wisén 1886-9, I, 75.


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