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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 8VII/2 — bræðr ‘brothers’

Beiðandi kveð ek bæði
bræðr ok systr at kvæði;
öll veiti þér ítran
yðarn tænað mér bæna,
vizku stærðr at virðiz
veðrskríns jöfurr mínum
— nýtr er, náð sem heitir —
nálægr vera málum.

Beiðandi kveð ek bæði bræðr ok systr at kvæði; veiti þér öll mér yðarn ítran tænað bæna, at jöfurr veðrskríns, vizku stærðr, virðiz vera nálægr mínum málum; nýtr er, sem heitir náð.

Entreating, I summon both brothers and sisters to my poem; may you all grant me your excellent help of prayers, that the prince of the storm-shrine [HEAVEN > = God], very great in wisdom, might deign to be close to my utterances; potent is [he] who promises grace.


[1-2] bæði bræðr ok systr at kvæði ‘both brothers and sisters to my poem’: Metrically the first couplet is unusual on two grounds: the runhenda-like end-rhyme of bæði and kvæði, and aðalhending of historical <œ> (brœðr < bróðir) and <æ> (kvæði) in l. 2. Troubled by these features, and noting that in all other instances the poem is consistent in matching historical <œ>-rhymes (3 times, including tœnað: bœna (l. 4)) and <æ>-rhymes (8 times), Konráð Gíslason 1869, 146 suggested emending kvæði to frœði ‘learning, history’, which Rydberg adopts and Skj B cites as an alternative in the prose arrangement. Even though the aðalhending here is anomalous, emendation is unnecessary. By C13th, the distinction in ligatures was lost in Iceland; <œ> was absorbed into <æ> (Halldór Halldórsson 1950, 47; cf. CVC: æ). B does not differentiate, using <e᷎> for both. Addressing a congregation as ‘brothers and sisters’ is common in homilies (e.g. HómÍsl 1993, 4v, 22r, 40r; HómÍsl 1872, 10, 45, 87); cf. systkyn ‘brothers and sisters’ 46/7.



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