Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Vitn 9VII

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Vitnisvísur af Máríu 9’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 746.

Anonymous PoemsVitnisvísur af Máríu

Leið um langar tíðir;
lundr fór burt frá sprundi
auðs, því að arfrinn fríði,
alsæmdr, honum tæmdiz.
Burgeis var hann í borgum
brátt og nógligt átti
gull, en guðvefs þellu
gleymdi hann nú með eymdum.

Leið um langar tíðir; {alsæmdr lundr auðs} fór burt frá sprundi, því að arfrinn fríði tæmdiz honum. Hann var brátt burgeis í borgum og átti nógligt gull, en {þellu guðvefs} gleymdi hann nú með eymdum.

Long times passed; {the very honourable tree of wealth} [MAN] went away from the woman because a [lit. the] fair inheritance was allotted him. He was soon a citizen in the cities and owned plenty of gold, but {the fir of precious cloth} [WOMAN] he now forgot miserably [lit. with miseries].

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

Readings: [1] Leið: ‘[...]eið’ 721    [8] nú: þá 721

Editions: Skj AII, 484, Skj BII, 521-2, Skald II, 286; Kahle 1898, 51, Sperber 1911, 25, Wrightson 2001, 31.

Notes: [1] leið (3rd pers. sg. pret. indic.) ‘passed’: The verb is used impersonally with langar tíðir ‘long times’ in the acc. Cf. Mar (1871, 299): Liða nv timar ‘Now times pass’. — [4] alsæmdr (m. nom. sg.) ‘the very honourable’: This adj. could technically also modify arfrinn fríði ‘a fair inheritance’, but it is better applied to the man (lundr auðs ‘the tree of wealth’, ll. 2, 3) as an honorific attributive used in an ironic manner (cf. his less than honourable behaviour described in the second helmingr). — [5] burgeis ‘citizen’: This is a late loanword from ME burgeis ‘citizen’ (< OFr bourgeois < MLat burgensis; see AEW: burgeis). Mar (1871, 1053) defines this social status as follows: einn burgeis eda rikazti gardzbondi var hann af ollum kalladr ‘he was called a citizen or the most powerful house-owner by everyone’. See also Fritzner: burgeis. — [5, 8] hann ... hann ‘he ... he’: Both pronouns are extrametrical, but because the metre is so irregular, the ms. readings have been retained here and elsewhere.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  4. Sperber, Hans, ed. 1911. Sechs isländische Gedichte legendarischen Inhalts. Uppsala Universitets årsskrift, filosofi, språkvetenskap och historiska vetenskaper 2. Uppsala: Akademische Buchdruckerei Edv. Berling.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.

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