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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Brúðkaupsvísur (Brúðv) - 33

not in Skj

Brúðkaupsvísur (‘Vísur about a Wedding’) — Anon BrúðvVII

Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir 2007, ‘ Anonymous, Brúðkaupsvísur’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 527-53. <> (accessed 28 June 2022)

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SkP info: VII, 543-4

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

21 — Anon Brúðv 21VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Brúðkaupsvísur 21’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 543-4.

Nýtust hvarf burt björg
borða við slík orð,
en augum álmþollr
unda brá þá í sundr.
Skauta hugði álmr að
ára, það er fyrir bar,
og reyni sú sýn
sverða þótti mikils verð.

{Nýtust björg borða} hvarf burt við slík orð, en {álmþollr unda} brá þá í sundr augum. {Álmr {skauta ára}} hugði að, það er fyrir bar, og {reyni sverða} þótti sú sýn mikils verð.

{The most beneficial deliverance of tables} [= Mary] disappeared at these words, but {the elm-tree of wounds} [WARRIOR] then opened his eyes. {The elm {of the sheets of the oars}} [SHIPS > SEAFARER] thought about that which had appeared and that vision seemed of great value {to the trier of swords} [WARRIOR].

Mss: 721(14v), 1032ˣ(106v), 399a-bˣ(9), 2166ˣ(9)

Readings: [1] björg: braut 2166ˣ

Editions: ÍM II, 133.

Notes: [1-2] björg borða ‘the deliverance of tables’: Jón Helgason suggested the emendation björk ‘birch’ which often occurs as a base-word in kennings for a woman, to give the kenning björk borða ‘birch of embroidery’. Jón Sigurðsson suggested braut ‘path’ in the margin of 399a-bˣ, which Jón Helgason rejected on the grounds that braut does not occur as a base-word in woman-kennings. The scribe of 2166ˣ adopted braut in the main text, mentioning the original reading in the margin. The reading of 721, 1032ˣ and 399a-bˣ, björg ‘help, salvation, deliverance’, is an unusual base-word in a kenning for a woman, if the determinant is borði ‘embroidery’ m., unless borði stands for those who produce embroidery, viz. women. As the kenning must refer to the Virgin Mary, and she is often referred to by means of base-words like hjálp ‘help’ and miskunn ‘mercy’, it is possible that björg borða is a kenning like hjálp fljóða ‘help of women’ (Anon Mv II 17/8). However, if borða is gen. pl. of borð ‘table’ n., Mary could be called ‘the deliverance of tables’, the one that provides food for households, though this kenning appears to be unprecedented. This interpretation is supported by the adj. nýtust ‘most beneficial, kind, bountiful’. However, whichever sense of borða is adopted, the kenning is still unusual and the text may be corrupt. — [3] álmþollr ‘elm-tree’: Jón Helgason thought this reading must be corrupted. He suggested elddraugr as a possible original reading, which gives a full rhyme with augum ‘eyes’. The kenning would have been elddraugr unda ‘the tree of the fire of the wounds’ [(lit. ‘fire-tree of wounds’) SWORD > WARRIOR]. — [5] skauta (n. gen. pl.) ‘of sheets’: Skaut is ‘the sheet, i. e. the rope fastened to the corner of a sail, by which it is let out or hauled close’ (CVC, 540). The ship-kenning ‘sheets of the oars’ is defective; it seems to comprise two determinants, while an expected base-word (e.g. ‘horse’) is missing. — [6] það: Jón Helgason suggested því as the original reading.

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