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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mdr 11VII l. 4



2. heið (noun n.; °; -): clear sky < heiðskírr (adj.)



[4] heiðskírt ‘clear, unclouded’: Kock (NN §1639) suggests that the cpd be divided heið skírt, with heið being taken as nom. sg. n. ‘the vault of the sky’, qualified by skírt, n. nom. sg. skírr ‘bright, clear, pure’. Skírt heið, which Kock translates rena klarhet ‘pure brightness’ is then interpreted as an epithet for Mary, in apposition to dýrð ‘glory’ (l. 3), prýði ‘embellishment, adornment’ and líf ‘life’ (l. 2). He construes: Heil þú er hjálpar sálum, prýði heims ok líf beima, dýrð himneskrar hirðar [ok] skírt heið friðar beiðis ‘Hail, you who help souls, world’s adornment and life of men, glory of the heavenly court and pure brightness of the one who asks for peace (i.e. God)’. The helmingr structure is thus considerably simplified, and the epithets in ll. 3 and 4, dýrð himneskrar hirðar and heið friðar beiðis, balance one another rather well. However, although heið is a fairly common determinant in heaven-kennings (see, e.g., Líkn 25/2: heiðtjald ‘tent of the vault of heaven’, which probably derives from tjald hyrjar heiðs ‘tent of the fire of the sky’ in Has 14/6-8), it is difficult to understand why Mary should be represented figuratively as God’s ‘heaven’ here. This edn follows Rydberg (1907, 54) in taking heiðskírt as the n. nom. sg. of the adj. heiðskírr ‘clear, unclouded’, which is common in MIcel. The prefix heið- serves as an intensifier here, as in the similar adj. heiðbjartr, which is used of the sun in Geisl 67/8. Heiðskírt must qualify líf (l. 2), making the more convincing Marian epithet heiðskírt líf beima ‘clear, i. e. pure life of men’. The hymn Salve Regina eulogises Mary as vita, dulcedo et spes nostra ‘our life, our sweetness and our hope’, although there is admittedly not a close parallel here. Finnur Jónsson appears to have been in some doubt as to the interpretation of heiðskírt, though he agrees with Rydberg’s assumption that it is a cpd adj. His translation in Skj B makes for a simpler cl. arrangement than Rydberg’s, but requires the emendation of heiðskírt to the f. nom. sg. heiðskír to agree with dýrð (l. 3). He appears to revise his opinion in LP: heiðskírr, where Rydberg’s arrangement heiðskírt líf beima is quoted.



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