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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gestumbl Heiðr 35VIII (Heiðr 82)

Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 82 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 35)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 449.

GestumblindiHeiðreks gátur

text and translation

Sat ek á segli,         sá ek dauða menn
blóðshol* bera         í börk viðar.
Heiðrekr konungr,         hyggðu at gátu.

Ek sat á segli, ek sá dauða menn bera blóðshol* í börk viðar. Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu.
‘I sat on a sail, I saw dead men carry a blood vessel into the bark of a tree. King Heiðrekr, think about the riddle.

notes and context

Heiðrekr’s response is (Heiðr 1960, 44): Þar saztu á vegg ok sátt val bera æði í hamra ‘There you sat on a wall and saw a falcon bear an eider-duck into the crags’. The H redaction has (Heiðr 1924, 82): þar saztu á vegg ok sáttu val fljúga ok bar æði í klóm sér ‘there you sat on a wall and saw a falcon fly and it carried an eider duck in its claws’. — The interpretation of this stanza relies on the poetic device ofljóst ‘excessively clear’, where a homonym of the intended referent is substituted by a circumlocutory phrase.



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. 5. Heiðreks gátur 28: AII, 226, BII, 245, Skald II, 127, NN §2363; FSN 1, 484-5, Heiðr 1873, 261, 343, Heiðr 1924, 81-2, FSGJ 2, 49-50, Heiðr 1960, 43-4; Edd. Min. 119.


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