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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Vitn 13VII

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Vitnisvísur af Máríu 13’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 749.

Anonymous PoemsVitnisvísur af Máríu

text and translation

Brátt nam byskup hitta
brúðr, er sorgin knúði,
satt og segir til vátta,
sár, og flóar í tárum:
‘Mettu, hvie mikil er hætta,
mann, ef eg fæ* annan,
en fastúðigr festi
formaðr konu aðra.’

Brúðr, er sár sorgin knúði, nam brátt hitta byskup og segir satt til vátta og flóar í tárum: ‘Mettu, hvie mikil hætta er, ef eg fæ* annan mann, en fastúðigr formaðr festi aðra konu.’
‘The woman, whom the bitter sorrow oppressed, at once sought a bishop and tells the truth about the witnesses and is flowing with tears: ‘Assess how great the danger is if I should take another husband, and the firm-minded previous man should be engaged to another woman.’

notes and context

[5-8]: The admonition to the bishop could refer to the C13-14th debate about the status of a betrothal (see Brundage 1987, 435-6; Wrightson 1997, 128 and n. 24). Cf. Mar (1871, 301): þviat hon serr, hverr haski þar ma af standa, ef minn eiginbonde fęrr ser aþra konv, enn ek hans eiginkona fęrr mer annan mann til bonda ‘because she [Mary] sees, what danger can result from it, if my husband takes another wife, and I, his wife, take another man for a husband’.



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 13: AII, 485, BII, 522-3, Skald II, 286, NN §2668; Kahle 1898, 52, Sperber 1911, 26, 71, Wrightson 2001, 33.


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