Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Vitn 8VII

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Vitnisvísur af Máríu 8’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 745.

Anonymous PoemsVitnisvísur af Máríu

Þá tók hann í hennar
hand með elskubandi,
framgreiðandi fríðust
festarorð á lesti:
‘Þú skalt, mektug meyja,
mín innilig kvinna;
virðiz okkr að verða
vóttr Máría og dróttinn.’

Þá tók hann í hand hennar með elskubandi, framgreiðandi fríðust festarorð á lesti: ‘Þú skalt, mektug meyja, mín innilig kvinna; virðiz Máría og dróttinn að verða vóttr okkr.’

Then he took her hand with the bond of love, speaking forth the fairest words of betrothal at last: ‘You shall, mighty maiden, [be] my beloved wife; may Mary and the Lord deign to become [lit. see themselves as becoming] a witness for us two.’

Mss: 713(83-84), 721(12r)

Readings: [6] innilig: so 721, ynnilig 713

Editions: Skj AII, 484, Skj BII, 521, Skald II, 286 NN §1667, Anm.; Kahle 1898, 51, Sperber 1911, 25, 70, Wrightson 2001, 30.

Notes: [2] hand (f. acc. sg.) ‘hand’: For the non-umlauted form, see Schottmann 1973, 351 n. 11. — [2] með elskubandi ‘with the bond of love’: This is taken in a figurative sense (cf. Norw. elskovsbånd ‘ties of love’; see Fritzner: elskuband; Schottmann 1973, 376 and n. 6). Wrightson (2001; 1997c, 124, 133 n. 35) translates it as ‘ring of love’, but the later context shows that he cannot have given her a concrete token of their betrothal at this point. — [3-4]: Cf. Mar (1871, 299): ok hefir fram festar-orð ‘and speaks forth words of betrothal’. — [4] á lesti ‘at last’: Skj B construes this prepositional phrase with the verb tók ‘took’ (‘at last he took’) (l. 1), which is less satisfactory from the point of view of w.o. — [5] mektug ‘mighty’: This is a late loanword from MLG mechtich ‘mighty’ (see AEW: mekt). — [6] innilig ‘beloved’: The 713 reading ynnilig ‘beloved’ appears to be a lectio facilior. The form innilig is supported by the internal rhyme ([y] did not unround to [i] until C16th; see ANG §144), and the rhymes -ín : -inn- form skothending rather than aðalhending. — [7] að verða ‘to become’: Skj B takes this inf. with the first cl.: þú skalt að verða ‘you are to become’. However, it makes more sense syntactically to construe it with virðiz ‘deign’ in the second cl., leaving the first cl. with a suppressed verb vera ‘be’ (see NN §1667, Anm.).


  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. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  6. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  7. Schottmann, Hans. 1973. Die isländische Mariendichtung. Untersuchungen zur volkssprachigen Mariendichtung des Mittelalters. Münchner germanistische Beiträge 9. Munich: Fink.
  8. Sperber, Hans, ed. 1911. Sechs isländische Gedichte legendarischen Inhalts. Uppsala Universitets årsskrift, filosofi, språkvetenskap och historiska vetenskaper 2. Uppsala: Akademische Buchdruckerei Edv. Berling.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.

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