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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Svart Skauf 41VIII

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Svartr á Hofstöðum, Skaufhala bálkr 41’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 984.

Svartr á HofstöðumSkaufhala bálkr

Bjóz þá skolli         í ból sitt fara;
beit hann helstingi         hart til bana.
Þar mun hann verða         þjófr afgamall
líf að láta;         lokið er kvæði.

Þá bjóz skolli fara í ból sitt; helstingi beit hann hart til bana. Þar mun hann verða að láta líf, afgamall þjófr; lokið er kvæði.

Then the fox prepared to go into his den; mortal pain bit him hard to death. There he has to end his life, the ancient thief; the poem is finished.

Mss: 603(82) (ll. 1-7), Rask87ˣ(115v)

Readings: [3] hann: om. Rask87ˣ    [5] hann verða: þjófur Rask87ˣ    [6] þjófr: mjög Rask87ˣ    [7] að: hafa Rask87ˣ;    láta: ‘l[…]’ 603, látið Rask87ˣ    [8] lokið er kvæði: so Rask87ˣ

Editions: Kölbing 1876, 246, Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 235, CPB II, 384, Jón Þorkelsson 1922-7, 159, Páll Eggert Ólason 1947, 6-70.

Notes: [5] hann verða ‘he has’: In Rask87ˣ this phrase is replaced by þjófur ‘thief’, resulting in double alliteration in this odd line, which is metrically fine but has consequences for the structure of the next two lines (see Notes to ll. 6 and 7). — [6] þjófr ‘thief’: Because, in Rask87ˣ, þjófur ‘thief’ was moved to l. 5 (see Note to l. 5), mjög ‘very’ has been added in its place. The adv. is, however, unmetrical, because it leaves the line without alliteration. — [7] að láta ‘to end’: Fol. 82 of 603 ends here with ‘l[…]’ and Rask87ˣ has hafa látið ‘have lost’ (mun hafa látið ‘must have lost’ (ll. 5, 7)), a construction forced by the change in l. 5, noted above. — [8]: The line is supplied from Rask87ˣ.


  1. Bibliography
  2. 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.
  3. Jón Þorkelsson [J. Thorkelsson]. 1888. Om digtningen på Island i det 15. og 16. århundrede. Copenhagen: Høst & søns forlag.
  4. Kölbing, Eugen. 1876. Beiträge zur vergleichenden Geschichte der romantischen Poesie und Prosa des Mittelalters unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der englishen und nordischen litteratur. Breslau: Koebner.
  5. Páll Eggert Ólason, ed. 1947. Kvæðasafn 1300-1600. Vol. 2 of Einar Ólafur Sveinsson et al., eds. Íslands þúsund ár. 4 vols. Reykjavík: Helgafell.

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