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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Vargeisa Lv 2VIII (HjǪ 6)

Richard L. Harris (ed.) 2017, ‘Hjálmþés saga ok Ǫlvis 6 (Vargeisa/Álfsól, Lausavísur 2)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 498.


Sæk þú Snarvendil;         sigr mun honum fylgja,
hoskr, ef þú, hilmir, vilt         þér í hendi bera.
Koss vil ek af þér         klénan þiggja;
þá muntu mímung         mér ór hendi fá.

Sæk þú Snarvendil; sigr mun fylgja honum, ef þú, hoskr hilmir, vilt bera í hendi þér. Ek vil þiggja klénan koss af þér; þá muntu fá mímung ór hendi mér.

Take Snarvendill; victory will follow it, if you, wise prince, want to carry it in your hand. I want to get a nice kiss from you; then you will get the sword from my hand.

Mss: 109a IIIˣ(267v), papp6ˣ(48v), ÍBR5ˣ(88) (HjǪ)

Readings: [3] ef þú hilmir vilt: ‘ef þú himler villt’ papp6ˣ, ef vilt hilmir ÍBR5ˣ    [4] þér: þér added in left margin in scribal hand papp6ˣ    [7] mímung: so papp6ˣ, ÍBR5ˣ, ‘mimmung’ 109a IIIˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 334, Skj BII, 354, Skald II, 191, NN §3296A; HjǪ 1720, 29, FSN 3, 475, FSGJ 4, 199-200, HjǪ 1970, 25, 83-4, 139.

Context: Vargeisa tells Hjálmþér, who wants the sword she is carrying, that he can have it if he gives her a kiss. The stanza is introduced with the clause henni varð þá ljóð á munni ‘then a song came to her mouth’ (for the significance of this expression, see Quinn 1998).

Notes: [1] Snarvendil ‘Snarvendill’: A sword-name, similar in form to that of another legendary sword, Dragvendill (or Dragvandill), owned by Ketill hœngr ‘Salmon’ (see Ket 36/1 and Note, Þul Sverða 1/4III). The first element of the cpd, snarr-, lit. ‘hard-twisted’ is used metaphorically to mean ‘swift’, ‘keen’ or ‘sharp’. On the possible meanings of the second element -vendill, see Falk (1914b, 63).  — [3] hoskr ‘wise’: All mss use the younger form of the adj. horskr ‘wise’ with assimilation of <rs> before the consonant combination <ss> and consequent shortening to <s> before the consonant <k> (cf. ANG §272.3). Kock (NN §3296A) interprets the adj. as ‘daring, bold, valiant’ rather than as ‘wise’, the meaning fairly universally accepted elsewhere, and considers the syntax of this phrase with the adj. as predicative in a conditional clause, ‘if you are bold, prince …’. This view of the meaning and structure seems unnecessarily complex and perhaps misleading. — [6] klénan ‘nice’: ON klénn is a late loan from MLG klēn ‘beautiful, pure, fine’ (the first citation in ONP is c. 1350); cf. Anon Mv II 6/3VII and Note. It occurs quite commonly in rímur, applied particularly to women, but also to weapons and clothing (cf. Finnur Jónsson 1926-8, 212-13). In Hjálmþérsrímur III, 24/1 (Finnur Jónsson 1905-22, II, 22) Vargeisa asks the hero to give her a vænan koss ‘lovely kiss’. — [7] mímung ‘the sword’: Treated here as a sword-heiti, but elsewhere in Germanic literature a named sword, Mímungr (cf. Falk 1914b, 55; Gillespie 1973, 94-5).


  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. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  6. 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.
  7. ONP = Degnbol, Helle et al., eds. 1989-. A Dictionary of Old Norse Prose / Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog. 1-. Copenhagen: The Arnamagnæan Commission.
  8. Falk, Hjalmar. 1914b. Altnordische Waffenkunde. Videnskapsselskapets skrifter, II. Hist.-filos. kl. 1914, 6. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  9. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  10. Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1905-22. Rímnasafn: Samling af de ældste islandske rimer. 2 vols. SUGNL 35. Copenhagen: Møller.
  11. 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.
  12. HjǪ 1970 = Harris, Richard L., ed. 1970. ‘Hjálmþérs saga: A Scientific Edition’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Iowa.
  13. Gillespie, George T. 1973. A Catalogue of Persons Named in German Heroic Literature (700-1600). Oxford: Clarendon.
  14. Quinn, Judy. 1998. ‘“Ok verðr henni ljóð á munni” - Eddic Prophecy in the fornaldarsögur’. alv 8, 29-50.
  15. Internal references
  16. Not published: do not cite (KethVIII)
  17. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Sverða heiti 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 790.
  18. Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2017, ‘Ketils saga hœngs 36 (Ketill hœngr, Lausavísur 20)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 590.

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