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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Magnús inn góði Óláfsson, Lausavísur, 2 [Vol. 2, 6-7]

[All]: Poole (1985, 116-18) argues that the attribution of this st. to Magnús inn góði Óláfsson is erroneous. He suggests instead that it was part of a sequence of love sts composed by Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson (Mberf Lv 3-6). In three of these lvv. (Lv 3-5). Magnús professes his love for a woman called Mektildr (Matilda), who, according to the surrounding prose, is the daughter of an emperor (see Mork 1928-32, 330-1). As Poole shows, this woman was most likely Matilda, the daughter of King Malcolm III of Scotland and the sister of King Edgar (r. 1097-1107). In Mberf Lv 3, Magnús berfœttr complains that Matilda denies him fun and pleasure and teaches him ‘to sleep but little’, an imagery in keeping with the that of the present st. It is likely that the compiler of Mork confused Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson and Magnús góði Óláfsson, and attributed Mgóði Lv 2 to the wrong Magnús. The sense of the st. is that, while other men may complain about (and fear) the pain that they experience because of their love for lowborn women, Magnús himself has no worries in that respect; rather, it is his love for the ‘ruler’s’ sister that prevents him from sleeping.


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