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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mhkv 8III

Roberta Frank (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Málsháttakvæði 8’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1222.

Anonymous PoemsMálsháttakvæði

text and translation

Bana þóttusk þeir bíða vel;
Brandingi svaf loks í hel;
Mardallar var glysligr grátr;
gleðr sá mann, er opt er kátr.
Ásmundr tamði Gnóð við gjálfr;
gulli mælti Þjazi sjálfr;
Niðjungr skóf af haugi horn;
hølzti eru nú minni forn.

Þeir þóttusk bíða bana vel; Brandingi svaf loks í hel; grátr Mardallar var glysligr; sá, er opt er kátr, gleðr mann. Ásmundr tamði Gnóð við gjálfr; Þjazi sjálfr mælti gulli; Niðjungr skóf horn af haugi; eru nú hølzti forn minni.
‘They determined to face death well; Brandingi at last slept to death; the weeping of Mardǫll <= Freyja> was glittering; the one who is often happy gladdens another. Ásmundr accustomed Gnóð <legendary ship> to the sea; Þjazi himself spoke in gold; Niðjungr scraped a horn from a burial mound; these are now exceedingly old stories.

notes and context

[3]: This line, like l. 6 below, alludes to a well-known kenning. Mardallar (nom. Mardǫll < marr-þǫll ‘sea-fir-tree’; see Þul Ásynja 3/6) is a name for Freyja; her grátr ‘weeping’ is ‘gold’: see Gylf (SnE 2005, 29) and Skm (SnE 1998, I, 43-4), which cites five examples of this kenning-type, mostly from ESk Øxfl. Cf. SnSt Ht 42/6-8 fagrregn hvarma Mardallar ‘the fair rain of the eyelids [TEARS] of Mardǫll <= Freyja> [GOLD]’. Freyja’s tears glitter in Mhkv because they are gold; grátr Mardallar [GOLD], a kenning elsewhere, is used descriptively in this stanza. The kenning type has limited distribution outside Skm (see Guðrún Nordal 2001, 330; Meissner 227). See also Anon Bjark 5/6.


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 8: AII, 132, BII, 140, Skald II, 74-5; Möbius 1874, 5, Wisén 1886-9, I, 74.


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