Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon Lil 28VII

[4] full sætleiks brunna miskunnar ‘full of the sweetness of the fountains of mercy’: This is the reading of Bb, which alone has sætleiks brunna ‘of the sweetness of the fountains’, against the other mss’ full sætum brunni miskunnar ‘full of the sweet fountain of mercy’. (Fullr adj. in the sense ‘full [of]’ may take either the gen. or the dat.) Skj B and Skald prefer the majority reading, which is arguably superior to Bb’s, where brunna must be gen. pl. The Lat. epithet fons misericordiae was used of both Christ and Mary, though here it must refer to Christ. It occurs frequently in the works of Cistercians like Anselm of Canterbury, Aelred of Rievaulx, and Bernard of Clairvaux. See e.g. Anselm’s Oratio 5: O tu illa pie potens et potenter pia MARIA, de qua fons est ortus misericordiae ‘O piously powerful and powerfully pious Maria, from whom the fount of mercy sprang’ (Schmitt 1946-1961, III, 14, cf. also I, 107 and III, 49). Fons misericordiae is also used of Mary, especially in the later Middle Ages; see e.g. Ramon Llull (in Garí and Reboiras 2003, 138); the Soliloquium animae of Thomas ꜳ Kempis (in Pohl 1902-22, I, 329). It became a commonplace in Marian hymns from C13th onward. It occurs in Arngr Gd 9/2IV full hjartans brunni miskunnar ‘[Mary] full of the heart’s fountain of mercy’.


  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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Garí, B. and F. D. Reboiras, eds. 2003. Raimundus Lullus, Opera latina 49-52, Liber de Sancta Maria, Liber de passagio. CCCM 182.
  5. Internal references
  6. Not published: do not cite (RunVI)
  7. Not published: do not cite (Arngr Gd 9IV)


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