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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Brúðv 9VII

Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Brúðkaupsvísur 9’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 535-6.

Anonymous PoemsBrúðkaupsvísur

Lýðir hvöttu lyngbjóð
laungum á kvánfaung,
en súða snarmeiðr
sóta vara þess fljótr.
Faxa játti Freyr loks
fjarðar, er þá varð
frænda, við flein-Þund,
fíkjum um það vili ríkr.

Lýðir hvöttu {lyngbjóð} laungum á kvánfaung, en {snarmeiðr {sóta súða}} vara þess fljótr. {Freyr {faxa fjarðar}} játti loks við {flein-Þund}, er fíkjum ríkr vili frænda varð um það þá.

People repeatedly urged {the heather-giver} [GENEROUS MAN] to marriage, but {the bold tree {of the horse of planking}} [SHIP > SEAFARER] was not ready for that. {The Freyr <god> {of the maned one of the fjord}} [SHIP > SEAFARER] consented finally to {the spear-Þundr <= Óðinn>} [WARRIOR], when a very strong wish of [his] kinsmen then was for it.

Mss: 721(14v), 1032ˣ(100v-101v), 399a-bˣ(4), 2166ˣ(4)

Readings: [1] Lýðir: so 1032ˣ, 399a‑bˣ, 2166ˣ, ‘Ly[...]’ 721    [3] snarmeiðr: svarmeiðr 721    [4] vara: var 721    [6] er: en 1032ˣ, 399a‑bˣ, 2166ˣ

Editions: ÍM II, 131.

Notes: [1] lyngbjóð ‘the heather-giver’: This seems to be a defective or half-kenning, with the determinant of the enclosing kenning missing, lyng-bjóðr [orms] ‘heather-giver of the snake (lit. giver of the heather of the snake) [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN]’, where lyng ‘heather’ does duty for the concept ‘lair’, ‘resting place’, the lair of the snake signifying gold. Jón Helgason suggested the emendation lung ‘ship’ for the mss’ reading lyng. This would produce lungbjóðr ‘ship-commander’, cf. Meissner, 330, who gives bjóðr as a base-word in the man-kenning elgsbjóðr stafna ‘the commander of the elk of the stems (lit. ‘the elk-commander of the stems’) [SEAFARER]’. The base-word bjóðr m. from the verb bjóða ‘to offer, command’ can be understood either way here, as ‘commander’ if Jón Helgason’s emendation is chosen, or as ‘giver, offerer’ if the reading of 721 is chosen, as is done here, as a determinant in a half-kenning. — [3] snarmeiðr ‘bold tree’: Emendation suggested by Jón Helgason. — [4] vara ‘was not’: Jón Helgason emended var ‘was’ to vara ‘was not’, which makes more sense in the context, since the young man is reluctant to marry, according to Mar (1871, 118). All mss read var, but the scribe of 2166ˣ has added the negative prefix ó-, (ó)fljótr ‘not ready’ to give the expected sense of the cl. — [5-8]: The second helmingr describes the family pressure upon the young man to get married. The kenning flein-Þundr ‘spear-Þundr <Óðinn>’ (l. 7) refers to an otherwise unspecified kinsman to whom the young man finally promises to obey the family’s wishes. — [6, 8] er fíkjum ríkr vili frænda varð um það þá ‘when a very strong wish of [his] kinsmen then was for it’: An alternative reading would treat the adj. as predicative, er frænda vili um það varð þá fíkjum ríkr ‘when the kinsmen’s wish for this then became very strong’. — [6] er þá: <r> is hardly legible in 721 and all the other mss have en. Jón Helgason thought þá ‘then’ should probably be emended to þó ‘though’ but did not carry this through in the main text. — [8] fíkjum (adj. nom. fíkr ‘eager, greedy’) ‘very’: Dat. sg. or pl. is often used as adv. with an adj., as it is here (LP: fíkr; CVC: fíkjum).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  3. 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.
  4. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  5. ÍM = Jón Helgason, ed. 1936-8. Íslenzk miðaldarkvæði: Islandske digte fra senmiddelalderen. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.

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