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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Sex 19II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Sexstefja 19’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 133.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonSexstefja

Nús of verk, þaus vísi,
vandmælt, svát af standisk,
auðan plóg at eiga
Upplendingum kenndi.
Sér hefr svá langs tírar
svinns, at æ mun vinnask,
þríu missari þessi
þengils hǫfuð fengit.

Nús vandmælt, svát af standisk, of verk, þaus vísi kenndi Upplendingum at eiga auðan plóg. Hǫfuð svinns þengils hefr fengit sér svá langs tírar þessi þríu missari, at æ mun vinnask.

Now it is difficult to speak, so that it is adequate, of the deeds by which the prince taught the Upplendingar to own a barren plough. The head of the prudent lord has won itself such enduring glory these three seasons that it will last for ever.

Mss: (571r), 39(29va), F(51ra), E(24r), J2ˣ(290r) (Hkr); H(60v-61r), Hr(44va) (H-Hr)

Readings: [2] svát (‘svo at’): svá 39    [3] auðan: auðar H, Hr    [5] Sér: sveit H, Hr;    svá: ‘sar’ Hr;    langs tírar: ‘lags ritar’ H, Hr    [6] æ: ‘eí’ F;    vinnask: finnask F, corrected from finnask in the same hand J2ˣ    [7] þríu: ‘.iii.’ 39, þau J2ˣ;    missari: misseri 39, misserin F, E    [8] hǫfuð: ‘haufdu’ Hr

Editions: Skj AI, 373, Skj BI, 343, Skald I, 173; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 184-5, IV, 235-6, ÍF 28, 167-8, Hkr 1991, 670 (HSig ch. 74), F 1871, 238, E 1916, 85; Fms 6, 341 (HSig ch. 91).

Context: Haraldr’s strife with the people of Opplandene (Upplendingar) lasted for the three half-years after his peace with Sveinn Úlfsson.

Notes: [3] auðan plóg ‘a barren plough’: The sense is slightly transferred here, since strictly it is the land that has been laid waste. LP tentatively proposes that plóg is equivalent to plógsland ‘ploughland’ here, and cf., perhaps, Anon Lil 10/8VII, where fagran plóg, lit. ‘beautiful plough’, amounts to ‘fair crop’. — [6, 8] hǫfuð svinns þengils ‘the head of the prudent lord’: A reference to the monarch, Haraldr. For further examples of hǫfuð standing for the whole person, see LP: hǫfuð 2. Meanwhile, since Haraldr gained a reputation for strategy and cunning, reference to his head, and the adj. svinnr ‘prudent’, are particularly appropriate.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  6. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  8. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  9. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  10. Internal references
  11. Not published: do not cite (HSigII)
  12. Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 10’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 572-3.

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