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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon Pét 30VII

[7] mettaz sætri saðning heilags anda ‘is sated with the sweet feast of the Holy Spirit’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) emends ‘meti at’ to mettar and reads mætter hann ... med den hellige ånds søde føde ‘he satiates ... with the sweet nourishment of the Holy Spirit’. Kock (NN §§1732, 2997C) argues that ms. ‑i is miscopied from an original ‑r, and proposes emendation to metr, which he takes as 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of metja ‘to lap up (food)’, a rare verb usually applied to animals. Finnur’s interpretation is nearer the mark, but the ms. sequence ‘meti at’ is more likely a mistranscription of an original reading mettaz (3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. passive refl. of metta / mettaðr, the late weak 2 verb derived from mettr, part. adj.; see CVC: metta; Sigfús Blöndal 1920-4: metta). Miscopying of <t> as <i> is a common scribal error, especially in the sequence ‑tt-, and mistranscription of <z> as <t> is equally commonplace. Miscopying of original mettaz as meti at may have been prompted by the separation of the first four letters of the word from the last two by a l.-division in the copyist’s exemplar. The parallel use of metta / mettr with dat. obj. is paralleled at, e.g., Sturl Hakkv 7/7-8II elris garm eski mettan ‘the hound of the alder [FIRE] sated with ash-wood’; cf. Finnur Jónsson 1926-8, metta: Bósarímur (ed. Jiriczek 1894) VI.6 metta hjarta angri ‘to fill the heart with sorrow’. On endingless ō-stem dat. sg. saðning, see ANG §376. Mettaz is used with saðning ... heilags anda as an alimentary metaphor traditionally applied to the study of scripture (see, e.g., Curtius 1953, 134-6), and ll. 7-8 complete the idea introduced in ll. 1-2: Peter knows the scriptures ‘without books’ because ‘he is sated with the feast of the Holy Spirit’. The satiety that is normally experienced by the student of scripture through reading – rumination on and ‘digestion’ of a text – comes to Peter through the divine gift of the Holy Spirit.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  5. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  6. Curtius, Ernst R. 1953. European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages. Trans. Willard R. Trask. Bollingen Ser. 36. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Originally published 1948. Europäische literatur und lateinisches Mittelalter. Bern: Francke.
  7. Sigfús Blöndal. 1920-4. Islandsk-dansk ordbog / Íslensk-dönsk orðabók. Reykjavík, Copenhagen and Kristiania (Oslo): Verslun Þórarins B. Þorlákssonar / Aschehoug.
  8. Finnur Jónsson. 1926-8. Ordbog til de af samfund til udg. af gml. nord. litteratur udgivne Rímur samt til de af Dr. O. Jiriczek udgivne Bósarímur. SUGNL 51. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  9. Jiriczek, Otto L., ed. 1894. Die Bósa-rímur. Breslau: Koebner.


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