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Nordic Verse / Old Norse Skaldic Meters

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Nordic Verse has its roots in the 8th and 9th centuries and distinguishes itself as bold and daring as befits poetry of the Viking age. Its daring continues to be reflected in more contemporary verse. Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Finland all leave their mark.

The Old Norse Skaldic meters originated probably from 9th century Norway. Most Old Norse poetry was first recorded from Iceland in the 11th century but the oral traditions that inspired the Icelandic records scan centuries before from most of the northwestern European countries. Nordic poetry tended to fall into the category of occasional poetry, praising or critiquing current events or persons rather than creating long epic narratives. The skaldic poetry did expand to love and insults. Metaphor, particularly kenning was common.( kenning is the use of metaphor in the form of 2 substitute nouns. Sea horse= ship, benja tar tears of wounds = blood etc.)

Sigidrifa´s prayer from the Eddic Sigdrifumál                                    

"Heill dagr, heilir dags synir,
heil nótt oc nipt!
Óreiþom augom lítiþ ocr þinig
oc gefit sitiondom sigr!

Heilir æsir, heilir ásynior,
heil siá in fiolnýta fold!
mal oc manvit gefit ocr merom tveim
oc lecnishendr, meþan lifom!"
translation by Jack Hart

"Hail Day ! Hail Sons of Day !
Hail Night and her Hail So daughter !
Gaze on us with gracious eyes,
Award us victory, we who wait.

Hail the Aesir ! Hail Asynjur !
Hail the all-giving Earth !
Wisdom and fair speech grant to us who sit here,
And healing hands while we live."

There are 2 books that have survived from 13th century Iceland known as the Edda Measures which document poems and "how to write" poetry. These are probably the best known of Ancient Nordic verse forms but there are others.

In addition to the Edda Measures I was able to find 4 of the Skaldic meters :

There are also:

And the more contemporary:

A couple of web sites that have more ancient Nordic Poetry are:

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