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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Brúðv 27VII

Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Brúðkaupsvísur 27’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 548-9.

Anonymous PoemsBrúðkaupsvísur

Síðan náði sverðrjóðr
— sveinninn girntiz vera einn —
— skildiz hann við fira fjöld —
fara, þar er auðn var.
Hæstri unni höll Krists
helga sig lagar elgs
hei…, unz önd liet;
endar þar manns sögu kendr.

{Sverðrjóðr} náði síðan fara, þar er var auðn, hann skildiz við fjöld fira; sveinninn girntiz vera einn. {Hei… {elgs lagar}} kendr {hæstri höll Krists}, unni helga sig, unz önd liet; þar endar manns sögu.

Afterwards {the sword-reddener} [WARRIOR] managed to go where there was wilderness; he parted from the multitude of men; the youth wanted to be alone. {The … {of the elk of the sea}} [SHIP > SEAFARER], belonging {to the highest hall of Christ} [= Mary], loved to make himself holy, until he gave up life; there the man’s story ends.

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

Readings: [3] skildiz: so 1032ˣ, 399a‑bˣ, 2166ˣ, ‘skild[...]zt’ 721    [7] hei… unz: ‘heims [...] ok’ 1032ˣ, 399a‑bˣ, ‘heim s[...]ok’ 2166ˣ    [8] manns sögu: man sögu 721, ‘mans.gv’ 1032ˣ, ‘mans..gv’ 399a‑bˣ

Editions: ÍM II, 134.

Notes: [All]: The prose versions of the legend are not much more forthcoming about the young man’s later life of ascesis. The D version does not mention how he spent the rest of his life, while C tells of his life of penance and prayer (Mar 1871, 775), but does not specify that it was spent in a wilderness. — [1] náði: Jón Sigurðsson suggested the reading réði in the margin of 399a-bˣ, and the scribe of 2166ˣ mentions the reading ráði in the margin. — [5-8]: The ed. is grateful to Ólafur Halldórsson for some very useful suggestions regarding the interpretation of this helmingr. — [5] hæstri höll Krists ‘to the highest hall of Christ [= Mary]’: See Note to st. 7/4 — [7] hei…: The end of the word is illegible in 721 and the readings of other mss shed little light on what might have been written there originally. It seems clear though, that the illegible word is the base-word of a man-kenning, whose referent is most likely to be [SEAFARER], since the determinant is elgr lagar ‘elk of the sea [SHIP]’. Jón Helgason thought that ‘hei...’ could be a mistake for a word beginning with ‘b’, possibly beitir ‘steerer’ which would fit beautifully with the determinant, but the first letter of the word in 721 is clearly ‘h’ not ‘b’. It is also worth noting that alliteration here requires a word with vocalic onset. — [8] manns sögu ‘the man’s story’: 721 reads man sögu, where man could mean ‘woman, female slave’, an unlikely term for the Virgin Mary, because of its frequently pejorative connotations. The scribe of 2166ˣ gives the fragmentary reading mn s..gv in the margin.


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

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