Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Brúðkaupsvísur, 13 [Vol. 7, 538-9]

[5-8] heilög hring-Sól heiðar röðuls ‘the holy ring-Sól of the heath of the sun [SKY/HEAVEN > SUN > = Mary]’: Hring-Sól could be taken as a simple woman-kenning: ‘Sól <goddess, personification of the sun> of the rings’ [WOMAN]. It could also be a part of an inverted kenning; ‘the holy Sól of the ring of the heath of the sun’, creating a sort of threefold image of the sun, first the base-word itself (Sól), then in the two sub-kennings. Hringr ‘ring’ does not usually occur in sun-kennings, but the word can be used to denote forskellige slags ‘ringe, ringformede genstande’ ‘various kinds of round and ring-formed things’ (LP: hringr), presumably including the sun. Cf. Schottmann 1973, 129 on this kind of kenning for the Virgin. On Sól as a personification of the sun, see SnE 1982, 13. The bright imagery in the kenning forms a sharp contrast to the ‘angry and unhappy’ appearance of Mary (reið og óglöð), who is described as ófrýn sýnum ‘seemingly frowning’ in the previous helmingr (l. 2). In Mar she is more decorous: með hrygðar yfirbragði ‘with the appearance of sorrow’ (Mar 1871, 119).

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