Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Brúðv 5VII

Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Brúðkaupsvísur 5’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 532-3.

Anonymous PoemsBrúðkaupsvísur

Bríma þýðiz bóknám
brauta með siða skraut
æsir, þá er ungr var,
ögurs og guðs lög.
Bæði gjörðiz bókfróðr
beiðir, er skamt leið,
röðuls — var hann raunsviðr —
rastar og trúfastr.

{Æsir {bríma {brauta ögurs}}} þýðiz bóknám og guðs lög með skraut siða, þá er var ungr. {Beiðir {röðuls rastar}} gjörðiz bæði bókfróðr og trúfastr, er skamt leið; hann var raunsviðr.

{The flinger {of the fire {of the roads of the redfish}}} [SEA > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] embraces book-learning and God’s laws with the ornament of good conduct when he was young. {The demander {of the sun of the current}} [GOLD > MAN] became both book-wise and firm of faith after a short while; he was trulywise.

Mss: 721(14r), 1032ˣ(98v-99v), 399a-bˣ(2), 2166ˣ(2-3)

Readings: [1] Bríma: so 2166ˣ, Prima 721, 1032ˣ, 399a‑bˣ    [4] ögurs: jöfur 721

Editions: ÍM II, 130.

Notes: [All]: In the D-version of Mar, the young klerkr is said to have been sent to school (Mar 1871, 118: ok er hann óx upp var hann í skóla settr ‘and when he grew up he was put to school’). — [1] bríma ‘of the fire’: Jón Sigurðsson suggested this reading in the margin in 399a-bˣ but chose the reading Prima for the main text, following 721 and 1032ˣ. The scribe of 2166ˣ chose Bríma for the main text. Príma, from prími ‘prime, 6 a.m.’, is difficult to fit into the syntax here. — [2] með skraut siða ‘with the ornament of good conduct’: The import of this phrase is not entirely clear. It has been taken here to mean that the young man’s studiousness was further enhanced by his moral virtues (cf. st. 6/2, 4 siðknár álmr bóka ‘the well-behaved elm tree of books’ and 8/5-8). — [4] ögurs ‘of the redfish’: 721 and all transcripts read jöfur which does not make sense in this context. The word ögur was suggested by Jón Helgason, since the rhyme requires a word with ‘ög-’. A word meaning ‘fish’ is a typical determinant of a sea-kenning, which here forms the determinant of a gold-kenning. Finnur Jónsson thought that augurr was the correct form of ǫggr, en slags fisk ‘a kind of a fish’ (LP: ǫggr), but Jón Helgason and Ásgeir Blöndal Magnússon disagreed and thought that ǫgr was the correct form (ÍM II, 130 n.; ÍO, 1220). The fish is identified as the redfish or red sea perch (Lat. perca marina) by Fritzner: ögr. — [7] -sviðr ‘wise’: Older form of the adj. svinnr. This is one of the examples Jón Helgason gives to support his theory that the poem is older than previously thought (ÍM II, 128).


  1. Bibliography
  2. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  3. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  4. ÍM = Jón Helgason, ed. 1936-8. Íslenzk miðaldarkvæði: Islandske digte fra senmiddelalderen. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  5. ÍO = Ásgeir Blöndal Magnússon. 1989. Íslensk orðsifjabók. Reykjavík: Orðabók Háskólans.

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