Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Vitnisvísur af Máríu, 25 [Vol. 7, 756-7]

[5-8]: The interpretation of the second helmingr is ambiguous, because both brjóst (if n. acc. pl.) ‘breasts’ (l. 5) and frú (f. nom. sg.) ‘lady’ (l. 8) could technically be modified by the adjectives óflekkuð (n. acc. pl. or f. nom. sg.) ‘unblemished’ (l. 6) and full (n. acc. pl. or f. nom. sg.) ‘full’ (l. 7). In the present edn, brjóst (l. 5) is taken as the n. acc. sg. ‘breast’ and óflekkuð ‘unblemished’ (l. 6) modifies frú lady’ (l. 8) (= Virgo Immaculata). That is also the case with the phrase full af öllum fögnuð ‘full of all joy’. In Mar (1871, 27), for example, Mary is said to bear her son með fullum fagnaði ‘with full joy’. Skald lets all adjectives modify brjóst ‘breasts’ (l. 5) (see NN §2862), and Skj B construes them with Mary, including the phrase eilífrar ástar ‘of eternal love’ (l. 5): ‘My Lady, filled with all joy of eternal love’ (so also Wrightson). The latter reading produces a very complex w.o.

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