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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Brúðv 26VII

Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Brúðkaupsvísur 26’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 548.

Anonymous PoemsBrúðkaupsvísur

‘Haltu, sem hefir mælt,
hvert orð, meðan lífs ert,
hirðir’, kvað happ-Njörðr,
‘hringa, við dróttning.
Betri mun þier vera vitr
— víst hyggjum það — Krist
— ástin hennar má mest —
móðir en hvert fljóð.’

‘Haltu hvert orð, sem hefir mælt við dróttning, meðan ert lífs, {hirðir hringa}’, kvað {happ-Njörðr}. ‘{Vitr móðir Krist} mun vera þier betri en hvert fljóð; ástin hennar má mest; hyggjum það víst.’

‘Keep every word that you have said to the queen while you are alive, {keeper of rings} [MAN]’ said {the luck-Njörðr <god>} [MAN]. ‘{The wise mother of Christ} [= Mary] will be kinder towards you than any woman; her love may achieve the most; we think that for certain.’

Mss: 721(15r), 1032ˣ(108v-109v), 399a-bˣ(11), 2166ˣ(11)

Readings: [1] hefir: hafði 721, 1032ˣ, hafðir 399a‑bˣ, 2166ˣ    [2] hvert: so 399a‑bˣ, 2166ˣ, ‘hvt’ 721, 1032ˣ

Editions: ÍM II, 134.

Notes: [All]: Although the young man’s wedding party were presumably expecting the bishop to support them (st. 24), he evidently supports the young man’s devotion to the Virgin, even though he has denounced him as fickle (st. 25/3-4). The reason is not clear from the poem, but the D-version of the prose text explains that the young man is able to demonstrate to the bishop that he had betrothed himself to the Virgin Mary before he was betrothed to his human fiancée, even though his family did not know of his secret vow (Mar 1871, 120). The bishop then agrees that he should keep his original promise (heit) to Mary and live a chaste life. — [1] hefir ‘have’: Jón Helgason rejected hafðir, the reading of 399a-bˣ and 2166ˣ on the grounds that it was not metrically correct (metrisk urigtigt) and emended to hefir, as has been followed here. — [3] happ-Njörðr ‘luck-Njörðr’: There is nothing about this (probably incomplete) man-kenning that suggests that it should refer to the bishop, though logic requires it. — [6] Krist ‘Christ’s’: The reading Krists is suggested in the margin in 2166ˣ; on the gen. Krist, see Note to st. 7/4.


  1. Bibliography
  2. ÍM = Jón Helgason, ed. 1936-8. Íslenzk miðaldarkvæði: Islandske digte fra senmiddelalderen. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.

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