Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Sól 4VII/6 — váligr ‘wicked’

Mat ok drykk        veitti hann, þeim er móðr var,
        alt af heilum hug;
guðs hann gáði,        góðu honum beindi,
        þvít hann hugðiz váligr vera.

Hann veitti mat ok drykk, þeim er móðr var, alt af heilum hug; hann gáði guðs, beindi honum góðu, þvít hann hugðiz vera váligr.

He offered food and drink to the one who was tired, all with a good intention; he paid heed to God, offered him good things, although he [the robber] realised he was wicked.


[6] váligr: so papp15ˣ, 1441ˣ, ‘vælligr’ 166bˣ, 738ˣ, 155aˣ, 214ˣ, ‘vælligr’ corrected from ‘væ’ 167b 6ˣ, ‘voligr’ 10575ˣ, 2797ˣ


[6] váligr ‘wicked’: The reading of papp15ˣ and 1441ˣ, explained by LP: forfærdelig, som man kan vænte noget slemt af ‘frightening, from whom one can expect something bad’. 166bˣ, 738ˣ, 155aˣ and 214ˣ have the otherwise unknown word ‘vælligr’. Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 27) argues that this is a form of værligr derived from værr ‘cheerful’, implying that the robber is intending to do good. Interpretation of l. 6 has been problematic: Skj B emends the verb to a negative (hugðit) and translates ti han trode ikke at han var svigfuld ‘for he did not think that he [the guest] was treacherous’. The present translation, following Falk (1914a, 3) and Fidjestøl (1979, 23), indicates that the robber has repented of his previous wickedness and now recognises the obligations of hospitality, though this will cost him his life in the next st. Njörður Njarðvík (1991, 185-6) notes a verbal similarity with Hsv 110/6 ok þykkiz válaðr vera ‘and thinks himself to be wretched’. Falk (1914a, 3) traces the thought that it is possible to atone for the sin of murder with one’s life to the Visio Gottschalchi, ch. 43 (Assmann 1979, 126-7). There however, murderers are warned that if their victim is Christian, they will not be freed from punishment before the Last Judgement, even though they repent of their sin.



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