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Lexicon Poeticum

Lexicon Poeticum

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Anon Brúðv 21VII/2 — borða ‘of tables’

Nýtust hvarf burt björg
borða við slík orð,
en augum álmþollr
unda brá þá í sundr.
Skauta hugði álmr að
ára, það er fyrir bar,
og reyni sú sýn
sverða þótti mikils verð.

Nýtust björg borða hvarf burt við slík orð, en álmþollr unda brá þá í sundr augum. Álmr skauta ára hugði að, það er fyrir bar, og reyni sverða þótti sú sýn mikils verð.

The most beneficial deliverance of tables [= Mary] disappeared at these words, but the elm-tree of wounds [WARRIOR] then opened his eyes. The elm of the sheets of the oars [SHIPS > SEAFARER] thought about that which had appeared and that vision seemed of great value to the trier of swords [WARRIOR].


[1-2] björg borða ‘the deliverance of tables’: Jón Helgason suggested the emendation björk ‘birch’ which often occurs as a base-word in kennings for a woman, to give the kenning björk borða ‘birch of embroidery’. Jón Sigurðsson suggested braut ‘path’ in the margin of 399a-bˣ, which Jón Helgason rejected on the grounds that braut does not occur as a base-word in woman-kennings. The scribe of 2166ˣ adopted braut in the main text, mentioning the original reading in the margin. The reading of 721, 1032ˣ and 399a-bˣ, björg ‘help, salvation, deliverance’, is an unusual base-word in a kenning for a woman, if the determinant is borði ‘embroidery’ m., unless borði stands for those who produce embroidery, viz. women. As the kenning must refer to the Virgin Mary, and she is often referred to by means of base-words like hjálp ‘help’ and miskunn ‘mercy’, it is possible that björg borða is a kenning like hjálp fljóða ‘help of women’ (Anon Mv II 17/8). However, if borða is gen. pl. of borð ‘table’ n., Mary could be called ‘the deliverance of tables’, the one that provides food for households, though this kenning appears to be unprecedented. This interpretation is supported by the adj. nýtust ‘most beneficial, kind, bountiful’. However, whichever sense of borða is adopted, the kenning is still unusual and the text may be corrupt.




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