Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Gyð 7VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Gyðingsvísur 7’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 523-4.

Anonymous PoemsGyðingsvísur

Vellauðgan fór vallar
viggbeitir þá Meita
einráð var það eyðis
armlinns — gyðing finna.
Beiddi blára odda......
brak-Njörðr …
hodda láns af hánum
hugprúðr og fiesnúðar.

{{{Meita vallar} vigg}beitir} fór þá finna vellauðgan gyðing; það var einráð {eyðis {armlinns}}. {Hugprúðr {blára odda brak}-Njörðr} beiddi láns hodda og fiesnúðar af hánum.

{The steerer {of the horse {of Meiti’s <sea-king> plain}}} [(lit. ‘horse-steerer of Meiti’s plain’) SEA > SHIP > SEAFARER] then went to find a Jew rich in gold; that was the resolution {of the destroyer {of the arm-serpent}} [RING > GENEROUS MAN]. {The noble Njǫrðr <god> {of the crash of dark spear-points}} [(lit. ‘crash-Njǫrðr of dark spear-points’) BATTLE > WARRIOR] asked for a loan of gold and for the favour of money from him.

Mss: B(14v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] Vellauðgan: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘Vell[...]d[...]’ B, ‘Vellaud(gan)’(?) BRydberg, ‘Vellbiodr’ BFJ;    fór: so 399a‑bˣ, BFJ, ‘[...]r’ B, ‘(gǫ)r’(?) BRydberg    [3] einráð: ‘[...]rad’ all;    var: varat BFJ    [4, 5] finna Beiddi: ‘fi[...]ide’ B, ‘finn(a bei)ddi’(?) 399a‑bˣ, ‘fi(nn)[...](æ)ide’(?) BRydberg, ‘fi[...]e’ BFJ    [5] blára: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘bla[...]’ B, BRydberg, BFJ    [7] láns: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]ns’ B, ‘[...](an)s’(?) BRydberg, ‘[...]us’ BFJ    [8] fiesnúðar: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘fe[...]dar’ B, BRydberg, ‘fesnud[...]’ BFJ

Editions: Skj AII, 540, Skj BII, 599, Skald II, 332, NN §§2981, 2982, 3393; Rydberg 1907, 42-3, 59, Attwood 1996a, 347.

Notes: [1] vellauðgan fór: The ms. is badly damaged, and only ‘Vell…d…r’ can be read with any degree of certainty. The 399a-bˣ copyist was sure of Vellauðgan fór, and this reading has been taken as the basis of the reconstruction here. Vellauðgan is taken as m. acc. sg. of vellauðigr (adj.) ‘well-stocked in gold, rich’, which is construed with m. acc. sg. gyðing ‘Jew’ (l. 4). The same adj. occurs in KormǪ Lv 35/4V. Finnur Jónsson reads ‘Vellbiodr’ in Skj A, but in Skj B reconstructs the first word as m. sg. nom. adj. vellsnauður ‘poorly off for gold’, which he construes with the man-kenning viggbeitir Meita vallar ‘steerer of the horse of Meiti’s plain’ (ll. 1, 2). Kock (NN §2981) again objects to Finnur’s use of the desyllabified -ur in his reconstruction (see Note to 5/5), and emends to the synonymous vella snauðr ‘needy in respect of gold’, in an attempt to regularise the metre. Both emendations are unnecessary, however, since the 399a-bˣ reading makes both semantic and metrical sense. — [2] Meita (gen. sg.): Meiti is listed among the heiti for sea-kings in Þul Sea-kings 1/3III and Þul Sækonunga 2/8III. — [3] einráð ‘resolution’: The beginning of the word is lost in a hole in the ms., and only ‘rad’ can be read with any certainty. In this edn Sveinbjörn Egilsson’s reconstruction (made in a note to the 444ˣ transcript) to einráð m. sg. nom. is adopted. Finnur Jónsson suggests the rather more pejorative óráð, and translates det var en dårlig beslutning af manden ‘that was a poor decision by the man’ (Skj B). Such anti-Semitism may have been a feature of the original poem (see Introduction), but it is worth noting that there is no suggestion in what remains of it that the Jew’s wealth and function as a moneylender are treated in anything but an objective manner. Kock (NN §3393) is led astray by Skj A’s incorrect reading varat ‘was not’ (l. 3), and emends to n. nom. sing. ofráð ‘too great a task’ translating det var inte någon överlägsen utväg ‘there was no better expedient’. — [6] : B is completely illegible here, and it has not been possible to reconstruct the text satisfactorily. The essential sense of the st. is clear from what remains, and the missing word is most probably an adj. or adv. qualifying the rich man’s approach to the Jew. Kock proposes that a cpd with n. megin- ‘strength’, such as adv. meginharðla ‘very powerfully’ be inserted.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj A = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15a. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. A: Tekst efter håndskrifterne. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1967. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. Attwood, Katrina. 1996a. ‘The Poems of MS AM 757a 4to: An Edition and Contextual Study’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Leeds.
  7. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. Internal references
  9. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Heiti for sea-kings 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. 988.
  10. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Sækonunga heiti 2’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 680.
  11. Not published: do not cite (KormǪ Lv 35V (Korm 54))

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