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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Brúðv 21VII

Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Brúðkaupsvísur 21’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 543-4.

Anonymous PoemsBrúðkaupsvísur
202122

Nýtust ‘The most beneficial’

nýtr (adj.; °compar. -ri, superl. nýztr/nýtastr): useful, able

kennings

Nýtust björg borða
‘The most beneficial deliverance of tables ’
   = Mary

The most beneficial deliverance of tables → Mary
Close

björg ‘deliverance’

bjǫrg (noun f.; °bjargar; bjargir): help, deliverance

[1] björg: braut 2166ˣ

kennings

Nýtust björg borða
‘The most beneficial deliverance of tables ’
   = Mary

The most beneficial deliverance of tables → Mary

notes

[1-2] björg borða ‘the deliverance of tables’: Jón Helgason suggested the emendation björk ‘birch’ which often occurs as a base-word in kennings for a woman, to give the kenning björk borða ‘birch of embroidery’. Jón Sigurðsson suggested braut ‘path’ in the margin of 399a-bˣ, which Jón Helgason rejected on the grounds that braut does not occur as a base-word in woman-kennings. The scribe of 2166ˣ adopted braut in the main text, mentioning the original reading in the margin. The reading of 721, 1032ˣ and 399a-bˣ, björg ‘help, salvation, deliverance’, is an unusual base-word in a kenning for a woman, if the determinant is borði ‘embroidery’ m., unless borði stands for those who produce embroidery, viz. women. As the kenning must refer to the Virgin Mary, and she is often referred to by means of base-words like hjálp ‘help’ and miskunn ‘mercy’, it is possible that björg borða is a kenning like hjálp fljóða ‘help of women’ (Anon Mv II 17/8). However, if borða is gen. pl. of borð ‘table’ n., Mary could be called ‘the deliverance of tables’, the one that provides food for households, though this kenning appears to be unprecedented. This interpretation is supported by the adj. nýtust ‘most beneficial, kind, bountiful’. However, whichever sense of borða is adopted, the kenning is still unusual and the text may be corrupt.

Close

borða ‘of tables’

borð (noun n.; °-s; -): side, plank, board; table

kennings

Nýtust björg borða
‘The most beneficial deliverance of tables ’
   = Mary

The most beneficial deliverance of tables → Mary

notes

[1-2] björg borða ‘the deliverance of tables’: Jón Helgason suggested the emendation björk ‘birch’ which often occurs as a base-word in kennings for a woman, to give the kenning björk borða ‘birch of embroidery’. Jón Sigurðsson suggested braut ‘path’ in the margin of 399a-bˣ, which Jón Helgason rejected on the grounds that braut does not occur as a base-word in woman-kennings. The scribe of 2166ˣ adopted braut in the main text, mentioning the original reading in the margin. The reading of 721, 1032ˣ and 399a-bˣ, björg ‘help, salvation, deliverance’, is an unusual base-word in a kenning for a woman, if the determinant is borði ‘embroidery’ m., unless borði stands for those who produce embroidery, viz. women. As the kenning must refer to the Virgin Mary, and she is often referred to by means of base-words like hjálp ‘help’ and miskunn ‘mercy’, it is possible that björg borða is a kenning like hjálp fljóða ‘help of women’ (Anon Mv II 17/8). However, if borða is gen. pl. of borð ‘table’ n., Mary could be called ‘the deliverance of tables’, the one that provides food for households, though this kenning appears to be unprecedented. This interpretation is supported by the adj. nýtust ‘most beneficial, kind, bountiful’. However, whichever sense of borða is adopted, the kenning is still unusual and the text may be corrupt.

Close

álm ‘the elm’

almr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): bow, elm-bow < almþollr (noun m.)

kennings

álmþollr unda
‘the elm-tree of wounds ’
   = WARRIOR

the elm-tree of wounds → WARRIOR

notes

[3] álmþollr ‘elm-tree’: Jón Helgason thought this reading must be corrupted. He suggested elddraugr as a possible original reading, which gives a full rhyme with augum ‘eyes’. The kenning would have been elddraugr unda ‘the tree of the fire of the wounds’ [(lit. ‘fire-tree of wounds’) SWORD > WARRIOR].

Close

þollr ‘tree’

þollr (noun m.): fir-tree < almþollr (noun m.)

kennings

álmþollr unda
‘the elm-tree of wounds ’
   = WARRIOR

the elm-tree of wounds → WARRIOR

notes

[3] álmþollr ‘elm-tree’: Jón Helgason thought this reading must be corrupted. He suggested elddraugr as a possible original reading, which gives a full rhyme with augum ‘eyes’. The kenning would have been elddraugr unda ‘the tree of the fire of the wounds’ [(lit. ‘fire-tree of wounds’) SWORD > WARRIOR].

Close

unda ‘of wounds’

1. und (noun f.; °; -ir): wound

kennings

álmþollr unda
‘the elm-tree of wounds ’
   = WARRIOR

the elm-tree of wounds → WARRIOR
Close

Skauta ‘of the sheets’

skaut (noun n.; °; -): sail

kennings

Álmr skauta ára
‘The elm of the sheets of the oars ’
   = SEAFARER

the sheets of the oars → SHIPS
The elm of SHIPS → SEAFARER

notes

[5] skauta (n. gen. pl.) ‘of sheets’: Skaut is ‘the sheet, i. e. the rope fastened to the corner of a sail, by which it is let out or hauled close’ (CVC, 540). The ship-kenning ‘sheets of the oars’ is defective; it seems to comprise two determinants, while an expected base-word (e.g. ‘horse’) is missing.

Close

Skauta ‘of the sheets’

skaut (noun n.; °; -): sail

kennings

Álmr skauta ára
‘The elm of the sheets of the oars ’
   = SEAFARER

the sheets of the oars → SHIPS
The elm of SHIPS → SEAFARER

notes

[5] skauta (n. gen. pl.) ‘of sheets’: Skaut is ‘the sheet, i. e. the rope fastened to the corner of a sail, by which it is let out or hauled close’ (CVC, 540). The ship-kenning ‘sheets of the oars’ is defective; it seems to comprise two determinants, while an expected base-word (e.g. ‘horse’) is missing.

Close

álmr ‘The elm’

almr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): bow, elm-bow

kennings

Álmr skauta ára
‘The elm of the sheets of the oars ’
   = SEAFARER

the sheets of the oars → SHIPS
The elm of SHIPS → SEAFARER
Close

ára ‘of the oars’

1. ár (noun f.; °-ar, dat. u/-; -ar/-ir(LandslBorg 151b²¹)): oar

kennings

Álmr skauta ára
‘The elm of the sheets of the oars ’
   = SEAFARER

the sheets of the oars → SHIPS
The elm of SHIPS → SEAFARER
Close

ára ‘of the oars’

1. ár (noun f.; °-ar, dat. u/-; -ar/-ir(LandslBorg 151b²¹)): oar

kennings

Álmr skauta ára
‘The elm of the sheets of the oars ’
   = SEAFARER

the sheets of the oars → SHIPS
The elm of SHIPS → SEAFARER
Close

reyni ‘to the trier’

2. reynir (noun m.): tester

kennings

reyni sverða
‘to the trier of swords.’
   = WARRIOR

to the trier of swords. → WARRIOR
Close

sverða ‘of swords’

sverð (noun n.; °-s; -): sword

kennings

reyni sverða
‘to the trier of swords.’
   = WARRIOR

to the trier of swords. → WARRIOR
Close

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