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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Brúðv 6VII

Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Brúðkaupsvísur 6’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 533-4.

Anonymous PoemsBrúðkaupsvísur

text and translation

Æstri unni meyju mest
Máríu siðknár,
og mætri sig snót
sjálfan gaf, bóka álmr.
Húfa vandiz hreint líf
halda vel skíð-Baldr
(brúða hiet því brandrjóðr
blóma) með sveindóm.

{Siðknár álmr bóka} unni mest æstri meyju, Máríu, og gaf sjálfan sig mætri snót. {{Húfa skíð}-Baldr} vandiz halda vel hreint líf með sveindóm; {brandrjóðr} hiet {blóma brúða} því.
‘The well-behaved elm-tree of books [MAN] loved most the highest Virgin, Mary, and gave himself to the glorious woman. The Baldr <god> of the plank of hulls [(lit. ‘plank-Baldr of hulls’) SHIPS > SEAFARER] was accustomed to follow fully a chaste life with virginity; the sword-reddener [WARRIOR] promised it to the flower of brides [= Mary].

notes and context

Sts 6-7, and to a lesser extent st. 5, suggest that the young man may be a klerkr, although this does not appear to affect his marriageability. Schottmann (1973, 355-6) sees this rather mixed representation of the protagonist as a consequence of the poet’s drawing upon more than one version of the miracle story, but it may rather reflect the uncertain status of marriage, and clerical marriage in particular, in Iceland in the later Middle Ages (Auður Magnúsdóttir 2001). The justification for his eventual reneging on his secular marriage in D turns on the fact that he had dedicated himself to Mary in chastity for his whole life before he entered into a betrothal arrangement with an earthly woman, even though he had not declared this to his family (Mar 1871, 120).



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

ÍM II, 130.


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