A Study Guide 
Consisting of the Two Eddic Poems
Gróugaldur and Fjölsvinnsmál
"Groa's Incantation" and "Mighty-Wise's Speech"



Peter Robinson (1991) concludes that the two primary manuscripts of the poems comprising Svipdagsmál are St (Stockholm Papp. 15 octavo) and Ra (Rask 21 a), both written in the second half of the seventeenth century (c. 1675). Evidence indicates that the text passed through at least two stages of copying, known as X1 and X2, in the 17th century before the oldest extant manuscript. All other manuscripts are descended from the same exemplar as that of St and Ra. These fall into two categories: A and B. 'A' contains the Stockholm Group, the Luxdorph Group, the Egilsson Group, the Langebek Group and a small collection of ungrouped manuscripts. 'B' comprises the manuscripts known as O and 1872, and those descended from them.
Rask 21 a  (Description of manuscript only) 
A: Stockholm Group
Lbs 3633 8vo (Gróugaldr only 14v-16v) "The relatively high number of unique readings found in Gróugaldur alone — 20, more than many MSS have for both poems — indicates the general unreliability of the text." (Robinson, 1991)

A: Luxdorph Group
JS 223 4to (Gróugaldr only 90r-91r)

B: 'Final' Version:
Lbs 1689 4to (Grógaldur p. 40v-41v; Fjölsvinnsmál 41v- 44r.)
Lbs 636 4to (Fjölsvinnsmál 91r-93r; Gróuljóð p. 94v-95r)
Icelandic Texts

Robinson notes that Verse 13 of Gróugaldur was first printed in 1689 in Thomas Bartholin's Antiquitatum Danicarum, p. 193.

1787 Arnamagnaean edition Edda Sæmundar hins fróða. Pars I. (Fjölsvinnsmál only, p. 275)
1818 Arnamagnaean edition, Edda Sæmundar hins fróða. Pars II.
(Gróugaldur only)
1818 Rasmus Rask
Edda Sæmundar hinns froda (p. 97 Gróu-galdr and p. 107 Fjölsvinns-mál)
1847 Peter A. Munch Den Ældre Edda (Grógaldr p. 169 and Fjölsvinnsmál p. 171)
1859 Hermann Lüning, Die Edda (Grogaldr p. 501 and Fiölsvinnsmal p. 505)
1860 Theodor Möbius,
Die Edda (Grógaldr  p. 208 and Fjölsvinnsmál p. 210)
1868 Svend Grundtvig, Sæmundar Edda (1874, 2
nd Edition Svipdagsmála brot p. 179)
1874 Frederich W. Bergmann, Vielgewandts Sprüche und Groa's Zaubersang,
(Fiölsvinns mál p. 38; Gróugaldr p. 157)
1883 Gudbrand Vigfússon, Corpus Poeticum Boreale, Vol. 1
(Grogaldr and Fiolsvinns-mal; notes)
1903 F. Detter & R. Heinzel, Sæmundar Edda, Vols 1-2
(Gróugaldr p. 185 and Fiölsuinnsmál p. 187; Notes p. 633)
1904 Karl Hildebrand,
Die Lieder der Älteren Edda (Gróugaldr p. 193 and Fjölsvinnsmál p. 197)
1905 Finnur Jónsson
Sæmundar-Edda: Eddukvæði
(Grógaldr and Fjölsvinnsmál p. 207)
1914 Gustav Neckel, Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius
1922 Richard C. Boer, Die Edda
(Gróugaldr p. 289 and Fjölsvinnsmál p. 291)
1949 Guðni Jónsson, Eddukvæði. Vol. II. Reykjavík.
(p. Gróugaldr 332, Fjölsvinnsmál p. 335 Modernized spelling.)
1951 Jón Helgason, Eddadigte. Vols I-III.
1968 Olaf Briem, Eddukvæði.

Critical Editions

1856 Sophus Bugge Norrœn fornkvæði (Text p. 338- 351; Excursus on p. 352 ff; Notes p. 443)
1874 Frederich W. Bergmann,  Vielgewandts Sprüche und Groa's Zaubersang Zwei norränische Gedichte der Sæmunds-Edda. (Fjölsvinnsmál and Grougaldr, Two Nordic Poems from Saemund’s Edda).
1888 Barend Symons and Hugo Gehring as "Svipdagsmöl: Groogaldr and Fjölsvinnsmöl
1908 Olive Bray, Day-spring and Menglad: The Spell-songs of Groa and The Sayings of Much-wise
1991 Peter M.W. Robinson, Svipdagsmál: An Edition. (unpublished Doctorial Disseration, Oxford University)
2001 Eysteinn Björnsson, Svipdagsmál: Gróugaldur and Fjölsvinnsmál (with Critical Commentary)

Svipdag and Menglad
by John Bauer (1907)
Colorized by Guddipoland


English Translations

1797 Amos S. Cottle as
The Fable of Fiolsuid [Fjölsvinnsmál only]
1865 Benjamin Thorpe as
The Lay of Fiölsvith and The Incantation of Groa
1883 Gudbrandar Vigfusson as The Lay of Svipday and Menglad [partial translation only]
1908 Olive Bray as Day-spring and Menglad: The Spell-songs of Groa and The Sayings of Much-wise
1923 Henry Adams Bellows as Svipdagsmol: The Spell of Groa and the Lay of Fjolsvith
1923 Daisy E. Martin Clarke as The Grógaldr in The Hávamál with Selections from Other Poems
1962 Lee Hollander as The Lay of Svipdag: The Spell of Groa and the Lay of Fjolsvith
1969 W. H. Auden and P. B. Taylor as The Spell of Groa and The Lay of Fjolsvith
1980 Kevin Crossley-Holland in The Norse Myths (23. The Ballad of Svipdag, a prose retelling)
1991 Peter Robinson in Svipdagsmál: An Edition.
2001 Eysteinn Björnsson as
Svipdagsmál: Groa's Chant and the Lay of Fiölsvith (with Commentary)
2014 Carolyne Larrington in The Poetic Edda (revised 2014) as Groa's Chant and The Sayings of Fiolsvinn.

Danish Translations

1821 Finnur Magnusson as "
Fiölsvinnsmaal (den kloge Mands Tale)" and "Gróu-galdr (Groas Tryllesang)"
1874 Johann Sandel as Svipdagskvadet
1895 Karl Gjellerup as Svipdagsmál: Grogalder and Fjölsvinnsmål, Illustrated by Lorenz Frölich

French Translations

1844 Rosalie du Puget as
L'Evocation d'Groa and Le Poème de Fjoelsvinn

German Translations

1789 Fredrich David Gräter as "
Die Fabel von Vielweiss" (p. 173) [Fjölsvinnsmál only]
1829 Gustav Thormod Legis as Lied von Fiölsvidr Klugen and Groas Weihsagung
1856 Paulus Cassel Eddische Studien Vol. I: Fiölvinns-mal (Bavarian Digital Library)
1862 Ferdinand Justi, Ueber das eddische Lied von Fiölsvidr Th. Benfey's Orient u. Occident. II. 1862, pp. 45-74.
1871 Hans von Wolzogen as Schwingtag und Goldfreude (Fiölsvinnsmál) and Zur Neuen Ausfahrt (Grógaldr)
1874 Frederich W. Bergmann as Vielgewandts Sprüche und Groa's Zaubersang
1874 Karl Simrock as
Groas Erweckung and Lied der Fjölswidr
1874 L. Chevalier, Das Eddische Lied "Fiölsvinnsmâl": Versuch einer Deutung
1889 Wilhelm Jordan as Schwipptag und Menglada:
Groas Zaubersang and Die Mär von Veilflug
1903 Friedrich Fischbach as "
Schwipptag und Menglada" (p. 22) [Fjölsvinnsmál only]
1904 Hugo Gehring as
Das Lied von Swipdag: Groas Zaubersang and Das Lied von Fjolswid
1920 Feliz Genzmer as 15. Das Fiölswinnsleid and 28. Die Zaubersang auf Groa
1920 Hans von Wolzogen as
Schwingtag und Goldfreude [Illustrated Prose account]
1922 Rudolf John Gorsleben as
Schwingtag und Goldfreude

Italian Translations

2008 Luca Taglianetti as Discorso di Svipdagr ("Incantesimo di Gróa" and "Discorso di Fjölsviðr")

Latin Translations

1787 Arnamagnaean edition Edda Sæmundar hins fró∂a. Pars I.
(Fjölsvinnsmál only, translated as
"Multscii Fabula", p. 275)
1818 Arnamagnaean edition, Edda Sæmundar hins fró∂a. Pars II. (Gróugaldur only)

Norwegian Translations

1899 V.B. Hjørt as
Svipdagsmöl: Grógaldr and Fjolvinnsord

Spanish Translations

1856 D.A. de los Rios as La Evocacion de Groa and Le Poeme de Fioelsving
Translated into Spanish from the French of du Puget (1843)

Swedish Translations

Arwid August Afzelius as Groas Besvarjning and Fjölsvinns sång
1854 Johannes Fibiger, Forsög til en Forklaring af Eddasangen Fjölsvinsmaal. School-Program
1877 Peter August Gödecke as Sångerne om Svipdag: Groagaldern eller Groas Trollsång and Sången om Fjölsvinn.

1893 Frederik Sanders as 8. Groas Trollsång and 9. Fjölsvinns Ordskifte
1898 Karl Ljungstedt as Sångerna om Svipdagr: Grógaldr and Fiölsvinnsmål
1913 Erik Brate, Sämunds Edda oversatt från islándskan (Groas sång and Sången om Fjolsvinn)

"The Grogaldr and Fiölsvinns-mál (i.e., the Charm of Groa and the Song of Allwise), which we have only as separate poems, have been recognised as parts of one original poem by means of the still living Danish ballad of 'Young Svendal," which evidently has sprung out of them by a process of modernization." —Fraser's Magazine, 1861

Medieval Ballads

Hertig Silfverdal, Svenska folk-wisor från forntiden Erik Gustaf Geijer & Arwid August Afzelius (1814)
Ungen Svendal in Svend Gundtvig's Danmarks gamle folkeviser: Vol II: Trylleviser, no. 70 (1856)
Sophus Bugge, "Excursus on Svipdagsmál": Partial translation of Ungen Svendal and another ballad (1856)
Young Swennendal in R.C. Alexander Prior's Ancient Danish Legends, Vol. II. (1860)
Young Swaigder, or The Force of Runes, Translated by George Borrow (1913)
Young Svejdal in Axel Olrik's A Book of Danish Ballads, Translated by E. M. Smith-Dampier (1939)


1874 Frederich W. Bergmann as Vielgewandts Sprüche und Groa's Zaubersang
1903 F. Detter and R. Heinzel, Notes to Grogaldr and Fjölsvinnsmál
1922 Richard C Boer.  Die Edda. Vol. II: Commentary. Gróugaldr and Fjölsvinnsmál pp. 376-390
1927 Hugo Gering, Kommentar zu den Liedern der Edda, Vol. I, XIV. Svipdagsmól, pp. 399-425
1991 Peter Robinson, Svipdagsmál: An Edition (unpublished Doctorial Disseration, Oxford University)


The Unity of the Two Poems

1830 F. D. Gräter, Versuch einer Einleitung in die Nordische Alterthumskunde Volume 1, (1830) p. 20.
Gräter was the first to recognize that the two poems told a single story, although Svend Grundtvig and Sophus Bugge are given credit.
1856 Svend Grundtvig, Danmarks Gamle Folkeviser, 
II, 668 a suggests the title "Svipdagsför" [Svipdag's Journey]
1856 Sophus Bugge, "
Excursus on Svipdagsmál", suggests the title "Svipdagsmál"
1859 Hermann Lüning, "Ueber Grögaldr und Fiölsvinnsmäl"
1860 R.C. Alexander Prior, Ancient Danish Ballads, Introduction to no. 84. "Young Swennendal"
1861 Sophus Bugge,  Forbindelsen mellem Grógaldr og Fjølsvinnsmál, Forhandl. i Vidensk.-Selsk. i Christiania, pp. 123-140.
1869 Sophus Bugge, "Efterslæt til min udgave af Sæmundar Edda", Aarb, pp. 243-76.
1881 Sophus Bugge, Studier over de nordiske Gude og heltesagns Oprindelse, Vol. 1
1895 Karl Gjellerup, Introduction to Svipdagsmál (Danish)
The correctness of this conclusion is supported by internal evidence, as presented by Peter Robinson:
1991 Peter Robinson, "The Unity of Svipdagsmál" in Svipdagsmál: An Edition

General Scholarship

1788 Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. 63, Review of "Edda Sæmundar hinns Froda: Edda Rhythmica (1787)"
1820 Nathan Drake, Literary Hours No. LV. p. 206
1835 Jacob Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie
(1883, Vol. III, p. 1149, English tr. by James Stalleybrass)
1847 "Northern Literature: The Eddas", The Knickerbocker Vol. 30
1854 Johannes Fibiger, Forsög til en forklaring af Eddasangen Fjölsvinsmaal
1856 Paulus Cassel, Eddische Studien: I. Fjølsvinnsmál
1866 Theophil Rupp, "Fjølsvinnsmál". Germania 10, pp. 433-46.
1869 Theophil Rupp, Eddische Studien

1874 E. Kölbing, Review of F.W. Bergmann's Vielgewandts Sprüche und Groa's Zaubersang, Germania 19

1874 L. Chevalier,  Das eddische Lied "Fiölsvinnsmâl": Versuch einer Deutung desselben

Ernst Bratuscheck, Germanische Göttersage, "12. Menglada"
1875 H. Möller, Zum Fiölsvinsmál. Germania 8 (neue Reihe), pp. 356-60.
1886 Viktor Rydberg, Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. I no. 96 ff. and Vol. II, "Vidofnir's Sickle"
1893 Hjalmer Falk, Om Svipdagsmál,
Arkiv för Nordisk Filologi IX & X nf. V, 4 & VI, 1
1901 Leon Pineau, "Le Juene Svejdal" in

Les Vieux Chants Populaires Scandinaves

1907 A. Von Ulrich, "The Religion of our Forefathers", Transactions of the ...Theosophical Society
1917 Björn M. Ølsen, "Um nokkra staði í Svipdagsmálum". ANF XXXIII, pp. 1-21.
1920 Finnur Jónsson, Den oldnorske og oldislandske litteraturs historie Vol. I,  "A. Mytiske digte" 
1931 F. Schröder, 1966. "Svipdagsmál". Germanisch-Romanische Monatschrift new ser. 16, pp. 113-9.
1975 Einar Sveinsson, "Svipdag's Long Journey: Some Observations on Grógaldr and Fjölsvinnsmál"
1975 Lotte Motz, "The King and the Goddess — An Interpretation of Svipdagsmál". ANF XC, pp. 133-50.
1987 Jónas Kristjánsson, "Um Grógaldur og Fjölsvinnsmál"

1997 Eldar Heide, Fjølsvinnsmål. Ei oversett nøkkelkjelde til nordisk mytologi. An unpublished Master's Thesis in Old Norse studies. pdf , under "Kultur- og religionshistorie"

"The idea that Fjölsvinnsmál is a late pastiche is on close examination not firmly based on textual evidence," Eldar Heide, 2014
Overview: Parallels to Svipdagsmál

A wide range of scholars have recognized the following sources as Analogues of the tale told in Svipdagsmál:

Art, Son of Conn
Culhwch and Olwen: the most archiac tale in the The Mabinogion (English tr.. by Lady Charlotte Guest, 1877)
Duggals Leiðsla
Eyvindar rima
Hervarar Saga:  A Fornaldarsaga. English tr. by Nora Chadwick Kershaw.
Himinbjargar Saga: a wonder-tale, English tr. by Einar Ólafur Sveinsson, The Folk-Tales of Iceland, 2002.
Hjálmþés saga ok Ölvis (Icelandic text); A Fornaldarsaga.  Ralph O’Connor, Icelandic Histories and Romances, 2002 
Konráðs Saga: A riddarsaga.

Einar Ólafur Sveinsson, The Folk-Tales of Iceland, 2002:

"Hjálmþers saga resembles Culhwch and Olwen more closely than the story of Svipdagr does; for example, the suitor is given tests to pass. The next time we meet this wonder-tale in written form is around 1700, in Himinbjargar saga, where there are numerous changes in the storyline and in the 19th century it is found in a whole host of wonder-tales."

"Mærþöll and Himinbjörg are pure wonder-tales found only in this collection, though wonder-tales related to Himinbjargar saga are found both earlier and later.  ...The name Mærþöll is a corruption of Mardöll a name given to the princess because she weeps gold like Freyja (cp. Gylfaginning 35)."
Viktor Rydberg (1886) suggests that the following episodes from Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Dancorum may refer to events in the lacuna between the two halves of the Svipdag story:

Hotherus (Saxo Book 3)
Erik and Gunwara (Saxo, Book 5)
Otharus and Syritha (Saxo, Book 7)