Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Brúðv 28VII/3 — víf ‘women’

Oftar vil eg yðarn kraft
inna — það er vili minn —
— vita skulu víf kát —
víða í bragsmíð,
ef landa (líf) stund
ljós veitir gramr oss
máttugr (eða málsgnótt
mín tjár sonar þín).

Eg vil inna oftar yðarn kraft víða í bragsmíð — það er vili minn; kát víf skulu vita —, ef máttugr gramr landa veitir oss stund, eða ljós málsgnótt mín tjár líf sonar þín.

I want to tell more often of your power, far and wide, in a work of poetry — that is my will; cheerful women shall know —, if the mighty king of lands [= God] grants us [me] time, or my clear eloquence relates the life of your son.


[3] kát víf skulu vita ‘cheerful women shall know’: The cl. here is construed as an intercalary. The verb skulu (3rd pers. pl.) is abbreviated in 721 and 1032ˣ as ‘sk̄u’ which could be expanded as skaltu (2nd pers. sg.). Both readings make sense, but if the abbreviation is expanded as skaltu, it is necessary to follow Jón Helgason’s emendation þat for kát; þat skaltu vita, víf ‘you shall know that, woman’. Kát ‘cheerful’ can either be f. sg. or n. pl. The latter can stand with víf (n. pl.) ‘cheerful women’. The poet seems to be addressing a group of women, probably his intended audience. Given the poem’s subject matter, it is possible that these women were religious.



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