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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mv III 5VII

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríuvísur III 5’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 721.

Anonymous PoemsMáríuvísur III

Sefi gjörðiz saurlífr;
sárum … hugarfár,
lýtanna logi heitr
lerkað fekk þann klerk,
hverja nótt að hann fór
Hrundar á gulls fund
villr yfir vassfall;
váða giekk um hans ráð.

Sefi gjörðiz saurlífr; hugarfár … sárum heitr logi lýtanna fekk lerkað þann klerk, að hann fór hverja nótt á fund {Hrundar gulls}, villr, yfir vassfall; váða giekk um hans ráð.

His mind became lecherous; the mind-danger … with bitterness(es) [lit. hurts] the hot flame of sins tormented that cleric, so that he went every night to meet {a Hrund <valkyrie> of gold} [WOMAN], crazed, across a river; danger threatened his condition.

Mss: 721(16r), 1032ˣ(144v-145v)

Readings: [1] gjörðiz: so 1032ˣ, ‘giordi[...]’ 721    [2] sárum …: ‘sárum f[...]t’ 721, ‘sarum l..tit’ 1032ˣ    [5] fór: so 1032ˣ, ‘f[...]’ 721

Editions: Skj AII, 496, Skj BII, 539, Skald II, 295, NN §§1698A, 2872, 2873; Kahle 1898, 44, 100, Sperber 1911, 16, 65, Wrightson 2001, 69.

Notes: [2]: The reading of the l. cannot be restored. After sárum (m. dat. pl.) ‘with hurts, with bitternesses’ a word is erased and illegible. — [2] hugarfár (n. nom. or acc. sg. or pl.) ‘the mind-danger’: This is most likely the subject of the defective cl., and the missing word must be the verb. Skald supplies óx ‘grew’ (see NN §2872) and Sperber gives sárt var þat hugar fár ‘bitter was that danger of the mind’. Neither reading is supported by the mss. — [8] váða (m. dat. sg.) ‘danger’: The construction is impersonal, lit. ‘it threatened his condition with danger’ (see Sperber; NN §2873). Skald emends to váði (m. nom. sg.) ‘danger’ and treats the noun as the subject of giekk lit. ‘went’. Wrightson takes an implicit hann ‘he’ as the subject and váða as an unattested adv. ‘dangerously’ (‘he trod dangerously with his situation’). This interpretation is ungrammatical, because the possessive hans ‘his’ is not refl. (we would expect sitt lit. ‘his own’).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Sperber, Hans, ed. 1911. Sechs isländische Gedichte legendarischen Inhalts. Uppsala Universitets årsskrift, filosofi, språkvetenskap och historiska vetenskaper 2. Uppsala: Akademische Buchdruckerei Edv. Berling.
  5. Wrightson, Kellinde, ed. 2001. Fourteenth-Century Icelandic Verse on the Virgin Mary: Drápa af Maríugrát, Vitnisvísur af Maríu, Maríuvísur I-III. Viking Society for Northern Research Text Series 14. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  6. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.

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