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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hundk Lv 3VIII (HjǪ 33)

Richard L. Harris (ed.) 2017, ‘Hjálmþés saga ok Ǫlvis 33 (Hundingi konungr, Lausavísur 3)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 524.

Hundingi konungrLausavísur

Hverr er sá gaurr,         er í gáttum stendr
ok ríss röskliga         við rótakylfu,
gnapir með hettu         ok hyggr at gumna mengi?
Lítt er skúmr sá         at skapi mínu.

Hverr er sá gaurr, er stendr í gáttum ok ríss röskliga við rótakylfu, gnapir með hettu ok hyggr at mengi gumna? Sá skúmr er lítt at skapi mínu.

Who is that ruffian, who stands in the doorway and rises up bravely with a club, stoops forward with his hood and surveys the multitude of men? That chatterer is little to my mind.

Mss: 109a IIIˣ(273v), papp6ˣ(53v), ÍBR5ˣ(95) (HjǪ)

Readings: [1] er: so ÍBR5ˣ, om. 109a IIIˣ, sem papp6ˣ    [5] hettu: so papp6ˣ, hetti 109a IIIˣ, ÍBR5ˣ    [6] ok: so papp6ˣ, ÍBR5ˣ, ok ok 109a IIIˣ;    gumna: so ÍBR5ˣ, gunna 109a IIIˣ, papp6ˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 339, Skj BII, 360, Skald II, 195; HjǪ 1720, 50, FSN 3, 493-4, FSGJ 4, 219, HjǪ 1970, 41, 95, 157.

Context: King Hundingi asks the identity of Hǫrðr, the swineherd, in this stanza.

Notes: [All]: This stanza includes many terms of insult or unconcealed disdain for the supposed swineherd, several of which also appear in Hjálmþérsrímur V, 28 (Finnur Jónsson 1905-22, II, 37), including gaurr ‘ruffian’ (l. 1), í gáttum ‘in the doorway’ (l. 2) and kylfa (rótakylfa ‘club’, l. 4). The word gaurr ‘ruffian, boor’ (l. 1) is a term frequently used of low-class, uncourtly men in translated romances and rímur (cf. ONP: gaurr; Finnur Jónsson 1926-8, 124). Demeaning descriptive details include mention of Hǫrðr’s liminal position in the doorway, his wielding a club rather than a higher-class weapon like a sword, and his stooping posture with his head covered by a hood. — [2] í gáttum ‘in the doorway’: The noun gátt refers to the part of the door-frame against which a door shuts. — [4] rótakylfu ‘a club’: A rótakylfa is a club (kylfa) made from the lowest part of the bole of a tree (cf. LP: rótakylfa), thus a massive but inelegant weapon. The same term occurs in Hjálmþérsrímur IV, 16 (Finnur Jónsson 1905-22, II, 29), while kylfa alone occurs in V, 28 (Finnur Jónsson 1905-22, II, 37).


  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. Finnur Jónsson. 1926-8. Ordbog til de af samfund til udg. af gml. nord. litteratur udgivne Rímur samt til de af Dr. O. Jiriczek udgivne Bósarímur. SUGNL 51. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  6. ONP = Degnbol, Helle et al., eds. 1989-. A Dictionary of Old Norse Prose / Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog. 1-. Copenhagen: The Arnamagnæan Commission.
  7. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  8. Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1905-22. Rímnasafn: Samling af de ældste islandske rimer. 2 vols. SUGNL 35. Copenhagen: Møller.
  9. HjǪ 1720 = Peringskiöld, Johann, ed. 1720. Hialmters och Olvers saga, Handlande om trenne Konungar i Manahem eller Sverige, Inge, Hialmter, och Inge, samt Olver Jarl och om theras uthresor til Grekeland och Arabien. Stockholm: Horn.
  10. HjǪ 1970 = Harris, Richard L., ed. 1970. ‘Hjálmþérs saga: A Scientific Edition’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Iowa.

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