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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 27VII/8 — vífa ‘of women’

Leið sigrandi páfugls prýði
pentað innan firmamentum
Gabriél sem geisli sólar
gleðiligur í loft in neðri.
Sendiboði kom sjaufalds anda
— svá er greinanda — að húsi einu;
sannr meydómrinn sat þar inni
sjálft hreinlífið gimsteinn vífa.

Gabriél, sigrandi páfugls prýði, leið sem gleðiligur geisli sólar innan pentað firmamentum í in neðri loft. Sendiboði sjaufalds anda kom að einu húsi; þar inni sat sannr meydómrinn, hreinlífið sjálft, gimsteinn vífa; svá er greinanda.

Gabriel, excelling the peacock’s beauty, moved like a joyful ray of the sun through the ornamented firmament into the lower air. The messenger of the sevenfold Spirit [ANGEL = Gabriel] came to a house; therein sat the true maidenhood, purity itself, the jewel of women; so it is to be told.

notes

[8] gimsteinn vífa ‘jewel of women’: The same kenning-like phrase is used for Mary in Mgr 39/4. Cf. gimsteinn brúða ‘jewel of women’ in 89/4 and gimstein sprunda ‘jewel of women’ in Árni Gd 10/6IV, as well as the later Icel. poem Gimsteinn (ÍM I.2, 285-332). In Lat. hymns Mary is commonly referred to as gemma ‘gem’, eg. gemma puellarum ‘gem of maidens’ (AH 30, 129) and gemma virginum ‘gem of virgins’ (AH 32, 88, 236; 40, 95). Mary Magdalene is called gimstein brúða ‘jewel of women’ in Anon Mey 11/8, and Bishop Guðmundr is gimsteinn lærðra manna ‘jewel of learned men’ in Árni Gd 69/4IV.

grammar

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