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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Vitn 11VII

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Vitnisvísur af Máríu 11’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 747-8.

Anonymous PoemsVitnisvísur af Máríu

text and translation

Vitjar veglig sæta
virktafríð um síðir
sinn elskuga sannan,
— svá spyrr — er var fyrri:
‘Hví vartu svá, hirtir,
hverflyndr, að við fyndumz,
mjög reynir þú, manna,
mín, unnustu þína.’

Veglig, virktafríð sæta vitjar um síðir sannan elskuga sinn, er var fyrri; spyrr svá: ‘{Hirtir manna}, hví vartu svá hverflyndr mín, að við fyndumz? Þú reynir unnustu þína mjög.’
‘The magnificent, very beautiful woman finally visits her true lover, the one who was [her lover] before; she asks thus: ‘Chastiser of men [RULER], why were you so fickle to me concerning the fact that we two should meet? You test your beloved very much.’

notes and context

[5-8]: The syntax of the second helmingr is difficult. In the present edn, mín (gen. sg.) ‘to me’ (lit. ‘of me’) (l. 8) is construed with the adj. hverflyndr ‘fickle’ (l. 6) (see NN §2858; Wrightson 2001). The cl. að við fyndumz ‘concerning the fact that we two should meet’ (l. 6) is taken as an -cl. governed by the adj. hverflyndr ‘fickle’ (see NS §252a). Skj B emends to at ei fyndir ‘that (you) did not seek out’ and construes þína unnustu ‘your beloved’ (l. 8) as an object of fyndir ‘seek out’ (l. 6) and mín (gen. sg.) (l. 8) as the obj. of reynir ‘test’ (l. 7). The latter is ungrammatical, because reyna ‘test’ takes the acc. (see NN §2858). Skald emends að við fyndumz ‘concerning the fact that we two should meet’ to at vætr fyndumz ‘that we did not meet’.


Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 3]. Vitnisvísur af Maríu 11: AII, 484, BII, 522, Skald II, 286 NN §2858; Kahle 1898, 52, 102, Sperber 1911, 25, 70-1, Wrightson 2001, 32.


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