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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Vitn 22VII

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Vitnisvísur af Máríu 22’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 754-5.

Anonymous PoemsVitnisvísur af Máríu

Varð af vitnisburði
virkur lýðr í kirkju
kveiktr til mestrar mektar
móður guðs að bjóða.
Flokkr gjörði þá þakkir
þannveg allr með svanna:
lofsaung unnu þau ljúfan
list Máríu og Kristi.

Virkur lýðr í kirkju varð kveiktr af vitnisburði að bjóða {móður guðs} til mestrar mektar. Allr flokkr gjörði þá þakkir með svanna þannveg: þau unnu ljúfan lofsaung list Máríu og Kristi.

The caring people in the church were fired up by the testimony to offer {the mother of God} [= Mary] the mightiest worship [lit. splendour]. The entire crowd then gave thanks with the woman thus: they made a lovely song of praise artfully [lit. with skill] to Mary and Christ.

Mss: 713(85), 721(12r-v)

Readings: [3] kveiktr: ‘kvektur’ 721    [5] þá: so 721, om. 713

Editions: Skj AII, 486, Skj BII, 524-5, Skald II, 288; NN §§1674, 1677B; Kahle 1898, 54, Sperber 1911, 28, 72, Wrightson 2001, 37.

Notes: [3] til mestrar mektar ‘the mightiest worship [lit. splendour]’: In the present edn this phrase is construed with the verb bjóða ‘offer’ (l. 4) (bjóða e-m til e-s ‘offer somebody something’; see LP: bjóða 2). Wrightson translates the sentence as ‘fired up to the utmost of their power to worship the mother of God’. However, bjóða (l. 4) cannot mean ‘worship’. Sperber takes bjóða til e-s in the meaning ‘turn to’ (see Fritzner: bjóða til 1) and translates sich an die Macht der Mutter Gottes wenden ‘turn to power of the mother of God’. — [5] þá ‘then’: The adv. is necessary to restore alliteration and the correct number of syllables. — [7] þau ‘they’: The pron. is extrametrical and has been omitted by most earlier eds. — [8] list ‘artfully [lit. with skill]’: The noun is taken here as a dat. instr. (so also Skj B). Skald treats it as an acc., as a parallel object to lofsaung ‘song of praise’ (‘they made a song of praise, an art-performance’; see NN §1674). However, list ‘skill, cleverness, art’ is not attested in that meaning (see Fritzner: list), and therefore the two nouns are not in apposition.


  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. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. Sperber, Hans, ed. 1911. Sechs isländische Gedichte legendarischen Inhalts. Uppsala Universitets årsskrift, filosofi, språkvetenskap och historiska vetenskaper 2. Uppsala: Akademische Buchdruckerei Edv. Berling.
  7. Wrightson, Kellinde, ed. 2001. Fourteenth-Century Icelandic Verse on the Virgin Mary: Drápa af Maríugrát, Vitnisvísur af Maríu, Maríuvísur I-III. Viking Society for Northern Research Text Series 14. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  8. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  9. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.

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