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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Hsv 1VII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 1’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 361-2.

Anonymous PoemsHugsvinnsmál

Heyri seggir,        þeir er vilja at sið lifa
        ok góð verk gera,
horsklig ráð,        þau er heiðinn maðr
        kendi sínum syni.

Seggir, þeir er vilja lifa at sið ok gera góð verk, heyri horsklig ráð, þau er heiðinn maðr kendi syni sínum.

Men who want to live with good conduct and do good works should listen to the wise advice that a heathen man taught his son.

Mss: 1199ˣ(72r), 624(140)

Readings: [1] Heyri: Hlýði 624    [2] er: so 624, eð 1199ˣ;    sið: lið 624;    lifa: lifi 624    [3] gera: geri 624    [6] sínum syni: so 624, syni sínum 1199ˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 167-8, Skj BII, 185, Skald II, 96; Hallgrímur Scheving 1831, 7, Konráð Gíslason 1860, 549, Gering 1907, 1, Tuvestrand 1977, 71, Hermann Pálsson 1985, 24.

Notes: [All]: Lat. parallel: (Epistula) Cum animadverterem quam plurimos graviter in via morum errare, succurrendum opinioni eorum et consulendum famae existimavi, maxime ut gloriose viverent et honorem contingerent ‘Since I am aware of how very many people go seriously astray in the path of morals, I thought I should come to the aid of their understanding and take their reputations into account, so that they might live with greatest glory and obtain honour’. The st. translates the first part of the introductory letter (Epistula) preceding the Lat. poem. — [4] ráð ‘advice’: Lit. pl.: ‘pieces of advice’. Ráð is usually used in the pl. but translated here and elsewhere in the sg. — [6] syni sínum ‘his son’: The 624 reading of l. 6 is more correct in ljóðaháttr, since long-stemmed disyllabic words are generally avoided in the final two positions.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. Tuvestrand, Birgitta, ed. 1977. Hugsvinnsmál: Handskrifter och kritisk text. Lundastudier i nordisk språkvetenskap A:29. Lund: Blom.
  4. Hermann Pálsson, ed. 1985a. Áhrif Hugsvinnsmála á aðrar fornbókmenntir. Studia Islandica/Íslensk Fræði 43. Reykjavík: Menningarsjóður.
  5. Gering, Hugo, ed. 1907. Hugsvinnsmál. Eine altisländische Übersetzung der Disticha Catonis. Kiel: Lipsius & Tischer.
  6. Hallgrímur Scheving, ed. 1831. Hugsvinnsmál, ásamt þeirra látinska frumriti. Skóla hátið. Viðeyar Klaustri: prentuð af Helga Helgasyni, á kostnað Bessastaða Skóla.

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