Cite as: Carolyne Larrington and Peter Robinson (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Sólarljóð 56’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 335-6.
|Norðan sá ek ríða niðja sonu
ok váru sjau saman;
| drukku þeir inn hreina mjöð|
ór brunni Baugreyris.
Ek sá sonu niðja ríða norðan ok váru sjau saman; þeir drukku inn hreina mjöð ór brunni Baugreyris fullum hornum.
I saw the sons of the dark phases of the moon riding from the north, and they were seven together; they drank the pure mead from the well of Baugreyrir out of full horns.
Mss: 166bˣ(47v), papp15ˣ, 738ˣ(82v), 167b 6ˣ(3r), 214ˣ(151v), 1441ˣ(585), 10575ˣ(8r), 2797ˣ(235)
Readings:  þeir: om. 214ˣ; hreina: hreinu 10575ˣ  brunni: brunn 214ˣ; ‑reyris: ‘‑reirs’ 166bˣ, 214ˣ, ‘‑reins’ papp15ˣ, 1441ˣ, 10575ˣ, 2797ˣ, ‘‑reyens’ 738ˣ, ‘‑reyrs’ 167b 6ˣ
Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XII], G . Sólarljóð 56: AI, 636, BI, 644, Skald I, 314; Bugge 1867, 366, Falk 1914, 32, Björn M. Ólsen 1915, 18, Fidjestøl 1979, 67, Njörður Njarðvík 1991, 86-8, Njörður Njarðvík 1993, 62, 132.
Notes: [All]: 167b 6ˣ resumes with the final <a> of hreina in l. 5, having previously left off at st. 26/1. —  norðan ‘from the north’:
to 55/2. —  sonu niðja ‘the sons of the dark phases of the moon’: In ON there are two words, nið n. and niðar f. pl. (LP: 1. nið n. and niðar f. pl.) that mean both the waning moon and the time before the new moon (cf. Vsp 6/5, Vafþr 24/6). There is no equivalent English word, so the translation here ‘the dark phases of the moon’ attempts to approximate the ON with a phrase. The f. pl. form niðar has facultative <j> in gen. pl. Who ‘the sons of the dark phases of the moon’ are is uncertain; Falk (1914a, 35-6), as also Paasche (1948, 188-9), see them as angels or archangels coming to Christ’s aid. Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 53-4) argues that they are the inhabitants of a Norse limbus patrum, the wise pagans who cannot enter Heaven or Hell. Njörður Njarðvík (1991, 88) also sees these men as the denizens of Purgatory, neither good enough to join the hart of st. 55 nor wicked enough to be the prey of the dragon of st. 54. —  inn hreina mjöð ‘the pure mead’: Larrington (2002, 189) notes that mead, well and horn are symbolic of wisdom in mythological poetry, in particular where they appear together in Sigrdr 13-18; here they also have positive associations. —  brunni Baugreyris ‘from the well of Baugreyrir’: Falk (1914a, 36) and Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 53-4) connect the well with the well of Mímir in Vsp 28, but for Falk, as also for Paasche (1914b, 61 and 1948, 189-90), the well is the vitae fontes aquarum ‘the fountains of the waters of life’ of Rev. VII.17 and XXII.1, the fons misericordiae ‘the fountain of mercy’ of HómÍsl (1872, 76). Here the ring (baugr) symbolises God’s mercy. Njörður Njarðvík (1991, 87) compares the heavenly brunnr lifanda vatns ‘the well of living water’ in Dugg (Cahill 1983, 85-7). 166bˣ’s baugreirs is understood here as the name Baugreyrir; 167b 6ˣ shows a similar form as do c. 18 other mss. Baugreyrir ‘ring-stirrer’, perhaps ‘generous lord’, parallels Óðre(y)rir ‘mind-stirrer’ in Hávm 140 and SnE (1998, I, 3-4), the name of the vat where the mead of poetry is stored. Alternatively, the original form may have been Baugrerir (cf. LP: Óðrørir). Thus the poet makes allusion to poetry, like the mead of Baugreyrir’s well, as a potent drink, which, though pagan in origin, is capable of being used for Christian purposes. Papp15ˣ’s equally plausible Baugrein, and 738ˣ’s Baugreyin, probably to be normalised to Baugreginn ‘ring-god, divine power’ (LP: baugreginn), is shared by 23 other mss and is adopted by Skj B, Skald, and most other eds. It may or may not be a pers. n.