Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Brúðkaupsvísur, 23 [Vol. 7, 545-6]

[7] Gautr: All the mss have the spelling go᷎tur. That has been normalized to Gautr here, because the scribe of 721, from which the other mss derive, seems to use the ‘o᷎’ sign for [au]. In l. 8 of this st. he writes ‘brudlo᷎p’ and the scribe of 1032ˣ uses the exact same spelling, while Jón Sigurðsson writes ‘brúðlaup’ in 399a-bˣ as does the scribe of 2166ˣ. The normalized form götur (pl. of gata ‘road’ f.) does not make any sense in this context, whereas Gautr <= Óðinn> is a common base-word in man- or warrior-kennings. The choice of the name Gautr as a base-word could be interpreted as a criticism (Guðrún Nordal 1999, 78-81). The young man has shown himself to be brigðlyndr og lausgieðr ‘fickle-minded and slack-willed’, as Mary described him in st. 15, by first breaking his promise to her by agreeing to marry a young woman, and then breaking his promise to his kinsmen, as well as the girl’s family by calling off the engagement on the eve of the wedding. Jón Sigurðsson suggested gætir ‘keeper’ in the margin in 399a-bˣ. That gives a full rhyme with mætr ‘excellent’ (but in an odd l.) and makes good sense in the context, ‘keeper of the golden cup’. Gautr offers a more interesting interpretation of the st. and does not involve emendation, so that reading has been adopted here.

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