Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Máríuvísur III, 21 [Vol. 7, 731-2]

[2]: The beginning of the l. is defective. The first word must have alliterated on m- and rhymed with bjart (adv.) ‘brightly’. The top of the letter <m> and the ligature ar can still be seen. 1032ˣ has ‘m.ar.’. It is fairly safe to assume that the word in question is mart (n. nom. or acc. sg.) ‘much’. 721 reads ‘biort’ i.e. björt (f. nom. sg.) ‘bright’. If the ms. reading is retained, that adj. could modify either mekt ‘power’ or tungan ‘the tongue’. The second word must have been a verb, and the m.v. ending ‘-izt’ can still be read in 721. The letters preceding that ending can either be construed as <k> or <ít>. The latter is less likely because the accent is thicker than usual and looks more like the (damaged) top of a <k>. That verb cannot be reconstructed, but in light of the prose from Mar, lúkiz (3rd pers. sg. pres. subj.) ‘may be revealed’ seems likely. Skald suggests the following reading of ll. 1-2 (and see NN §1704): ‘Munnr hans,’ kvað mekt sǫnn | mart,lýsizt upp bjart!’ ‘May his mouth’, said the True Power friendly, ‘be brightened clearly!’ Wrightson follows that suggestion, but retains the ms. reading björt (f. nom. sg.) ‘bright’, which is taken with tungan (f. nom. sg.) ‘the tongue’ (l. 3). In her interpretation, mart (n. nom. or acc. sg.) is an adv. ‘greatly’, which is not possible (‘his mouth … is lit up greatly’).

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