Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.



Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

StarkSt Vík 29VIII (Gautr 37)

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 37 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 29)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 280.

Starkaðr gamli StórvirkssonVíkarsbálkr

Þaðan vappaðak         viltar brautir,
Hörðum leiðr,         með huga illan,
hringa vanr         ok hróðrkvæða,
dróttinlauss,         dapr alls hugar.

Þaðan vappaðak viltar brautir, leiðr Hörðum, með illan huga, vanr hringa ok hróðrkvæða, dróttinlauss, dapr alls hugar.

From there I wandered bewildering ways, hateful to the Hǫrðar, with a dark mind, lacking in rings and poems of praise, lordless, depressed in my whole mind.

Mss: 590b-cˣ(6v), 152(199vb-200ra) (Gautr)

Readings: [1] vappaðak: so 152, vappaði ek 590b‑cˣ    [2] brautir: götur (‘gótr’) 152    [5] hringa: hrings 152    [6] hróðr‑: so 152, hróðs 590b‑cˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 328, Skj BII, 348, Skald II, 187; FSN 3, 35-6, Gautr 1900, 32, FSGJ 4, 32; Edd. Min. 43.

Context: As for Vík 26.

Notes: [All]: Lines 3, 5 and 7 are in kviðuháttr metre, the rest in fornyrðislag (but see Note to l. 1 below). — [All]: Starkaðr’s self-depiction as a social outcast, depressed and lacking the most valuable benefits of a courtly life, especially material wealth, the opportunity to compose poetry and the company of a lord, is strongly reminiscent of similar self-presentation in the Old English poems Deor, ll. 35-41 and (without the poetry theme) The Wanderer ll. 20-9. — [1] þaðan ‘from there’: As Ranisch comments (Gautr 1900, 32 n.), this adv. may be a later addition to the line, because otherwise the line is hypometrical.  — [1] vappaðak ‘I wandered’: The verb vappa ‘wander aimlessly, go unsteadily’ is uncommon in Old Norse, but cf. Egill Lv 39/7V (Eg 69). — [2] viltar brautir ‘bewildering ways’: Viltar ‘bewildering’ is f. acc. pl. of an adj. formed from the p. p. of villa ‘falsify, lead astray’. Ms. 152 has götur ‘paths’ where 579b-cˣ has brautir. — [3] leiðr Hörðum ‘hateful to the Hǫrðar’: Starkaðr was hateful to the Hǫrðar, the people of Hordaland (ON Hǫrðaland), because it was there that he killed Víkarr. According to the prose text (Gautr 1900, 30): ok af þessu verki varð hann fyrst landflótti af Hǫrðalandi ‘and because of this deed he was first banished from Hordaland’. — [5-6] vanr hringa ok hróðrkvæða ‘lacking in rings and poems of praise’: The cpd hróðrkvæði ‘poem of praise’ is a hap. leg., although its two component elements are well attested. It is understood here as an example of the rhetorical figure hysteron proteron, in which that which should come last (rings as a reward for praise-poems) is put first, emphasising that Starkaðr neither has the opportunity to compose praise-poems nor to be rewarded for them. LP: hróðrkvæði, on the other hand, assumes the cpd refers to poetry or generally laudatory opinions expressed by others about Starkaðr, though this seems less likely given that Starkaðr’s poetic skills are attested in a number of Old Norse sources and in Saxo (cf. Clunies Ross 2006a). It is also possible that vanr hringa ok hróðrkvæða could refer to a general lack of courtly culture in the environment in which Starkaðr found himself.


  1. Bibliography
  2. FSN = Rafn, Carl Christian, ed. 1829-30. Fornaldar sögur nordrlanda. 3 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. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  6. Edd. Min. = Heusler, Andreas and Wilhelm Ranisch, eds. 1903. Eddica Minora: Dichtungen eddischer Art aus den Fornaldarsögur und anderen Prosawerken. Dortmund: Ruhfus. Rpt. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
  7. Gautr 1900 = Ranisch, Wilhelm, ed. 1900. Die Gautrekssaga in zwei Fassungen. Palaestra 11. Berlin: Mayer & Müller.
  8. Clunies Ross, Margaret. 2006a. ‘Poet into Myth: Starkaðr and Bragi’. Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 2, 31-44.
  9. Internal references
  10. Not published: do not cite (Egill Lv 39V (Eg 69))
  11. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 34 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 26)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 277.
  12. Not published: do not cite ()

Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.


Stanza/chapter/text segment

Use the buttons at the top of the page to navigate between stanzas in a poem.

Information tab

Interactive tab

The text and translation are given here, with buttons to toggle whether the text is shown in the verse order or prose word order. Clicking on indiviudal words gives dictionary links, variant readings, kennings and notes, where relevant.

Full text tab

This is the text of the edition in a similar format to how the edition appears in the printed volumes.

Chapter/text segment

This view is also used for chapters and other text segments. Not all the headings shown are relevant to such sections.