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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Vitn 25VII

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Vitnisvísur af Máríu 25’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 756-7.

Anonymous PoemsVitnisvísur af Máríu

text and translation

Þú ert margföldust mildi
mjúklætis hásæti
grundin guðdóms anda
góð og Jésús móðir.
Brjóst eilífrar ástar,
óflekkuð, gaftu drekka,
full af fögnuð öllum,
frú mín, syni þínum.

Þú ert margföldust mildi, {hásæti mjúklætis}, góð grundin anda guðdóms, og {móðir Jésús}. Gaftu brjóst eilífrar ástar syni þínum drekka, óflekkuð frú mín, full af öllum fögnuð.
‘You are the most manifold mercy, the high-seat of humility [= Mary], virtuous land of the spirit of the Godhead and mother of Jesus [= Mary]. You gave the breast of eternal love to your son to drink, my unblemished lady, full of all joy.

notes and context

[5-8]: The interpretation of the second helmingr is ambiguous, because both brjóst (if n. acc. pl.) ‘breasts’ (l. 5) and frú (f. nom. sg.) ‘lady’ (l. 8) could technically be modified by the adjectives óflekkuð (n. acc. pl. or f. nom. sg.) ‘unblemished’ (l. 6) and full (n. acc. pl. or f. nom. sg.) ‘full’ (l. 7). In the present edn, brjóst (l. 5) is taken as the n. acc. sg. ‘breast’ and óflekkuð ‘unblemished’ (l. 6) modifies frú lady’ (l. 8) (= Virgo Immaculata). That is also the case with the phrase full af öllum fögnuð ‘full of all joy’. In Mar (1871, 27), for example, Mary is said to bear her son með fullum fagnaði ‘with full joy’. Skald lets all adjectives modify brjóst ‘breasts’ (l. 5) (see NN §2862), and Skj B construes them with Mary, including the phrase eilífrar ástar ‘of eternal love’ (l. 5): ‘My Lady, filled with all joy of eternal love’ (so also Wrightson). The latter reading produces a very complex w.o.



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 25: AII, 487, BII, 525, Skald II, 288; NN §2862; Kahle 1898, 55, Sperber 1911, 29, Wrightson 2001, 39.


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